The Gift of God
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Luke 2:7 (AKJV)
Never was there a gift so rich, so rare, so plain, so poor. Never did creation’s master divest such glory, yet reap such gain. Never was mankind’s enemy so bold, so brazen, so cowered, so crushed, as the day when earth and heaven pulsed to the beat of this infant heart.
The little hill country town of Bet Leḥem “the house of bread”, its avenues and streets brimming with travellers from the regions of Judea and beyond, finds its every home and hovel, crook and corner, swamped and swollen by the bustling traffic.
There is no room left in this small town for even a mother with child, but among the stabled beasts beside a bustling inn, a trough of straw is found on which to repose the head of the newborn babe. Here the ‘bread of Heaven’ is in a manger laid.
Shepherds in a nearby field attend the flocks of their care, where, perchance, Ruth, a daughter of Moab, once gleaned the fields of her future husband, Boaz, the father of Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David, the Shepherd King of Israel. Out of the darkness, angelic voices arrest their attention, and the night air is filled with the most joyous proclamation.
Inside the town, the child’s mother, Mary and her betrothed are weary and worn, having travelled many miles. Adam’s race has travelled a much longer road, an insatious, wayward path that stretches far behind and far ahead. But it is here in this feeding trough that humanity will find the food that truly satisfies, the very place to lay down every burden, every yoke, and shed forever the weariness of this erring flesh.
Here on this bed of straw lies a new man, and with the new man is found a new path, a new and living way. Here is humanity reborn. Here, the fallen race enters the crisis of the cross and emerges triumphant from the rock-hewn tomb, to be received into the realms of glory. Here lies the hope of the world, the substance of a new creation that is salvation’s end: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus, for gift of the new life we now partake of in Him. Help us to be active in the ministry of reconciliation to which we have been called, spreading the good news of mankind’s inclusion in the incarnation event.
Study by Richard Dempsey
Worldwide Church of God Peterborough
Farcet Village Hall
Saturday 2 pm
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