The sign of the manger declares that God has provided for us. The nativity of Bethlehem is the culmination of God’s eternal purpose. Even though we consider that silent night under the luminous star the beginning of the Christmas story, there is more to the plot of God’s grace than what we read from Luke’s pen.
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7, NKJV)
Here is the in-breaking of the fulfillment of an ancient anticipation. Joy and peace have entered the scene of human history, and we can live in the rapture of the hope realized in our lives. Jesus has been born. Anticipation has become reality. Our Rescuer has come!
Surrounded by the wintry landscape of shadows and death, God sent Jesus on a mission to invade the darkness with light, to bring the glorious grace of God to set us free. We’re longing for the chains that clang around our soul to be shattered. Before Christ came, humanity knew only the power of a broken heart, the dreary landscape of a hopeless, loveless, lifeless existence, festering wounds of a soul unhealed, the captivity that binds us to the failures of our life, and the deathly march of mourning for the soul that longs for peace but never finds it. But everything changed when Jesus was born. We have a song of celebration because Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, God with us, the Savior of the world, has come to set the world right!
The sign of the manger unleashes a new song into the world. The lyrics are love and the tune is joy. God has come to town to set our lives right.