I’m overwhelmed by the feeling of immense blessing and immense wretchedness each year. The birth of Christ – King of Heaven, seated at the right hand of God Himself – born in a barn…the lowest of lows. Entering our world to serve as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, a plan set in motion from the moment the fruit touched the lips of man, as a baby, completely dependent on those he came to save.
Parallel to his birth, Christ dying on the cross as a criminal. Crucifixion was saved for offenders who needed to be examples. Cruel and torturous, saved for the worst of the worst. Broken and returned to the lowest of lows.
From Ann Voskamps’ book, The Greatest Christmas:
… and on a chilled night under stars, there is no grand mass of people whose efforts pry the stars into place.
In an obscure caved barn, down some backstreet of Bethlehem, there is no great host whose good works unlatch heaven & impress God into coming.
Tonight, at the foot of the cradle of Christ, like at the foot of the Cross of Christ, there are no big people—no powerful, no proud.
Tonight there are only those who tramp to the manger with nothing; there are only the manger tramps, the men who lay down all the self-made, the women who lay down all the self-sufficiency, the children who lay down all the wants. We, the manger tramps, who kneel where thrones tremble and demons fall and the self-made crumble and the self-righteous weep.
Tonight there are only the manger tramps, who tramp in with all our poverty of spirit . . . so there can be an abundance of God.
And the bulk of all your worn shreds slip off the weariness of your back.
You have tried to polish enough for Him with these rags.
You have tried to patch together so much for Him.
You have tried to produce too much for Him with these rags.
And you—we—who are the manger tramps see it tonight, what He’s written in red on all our filthy rags: “But I did it for love.”
All of conquered heaven and grateful earth echo and throb tonight with the heart cry of the God-Child: “I did it for love.”
What can all the manger tramps do but wrap the vulnerable God in strips of our bare, broken hearts so He can lodge in the intimacy of us?
The greatest Gift laid into our empty hands…Grace is weightless.
Even the winning stars singing it over the manger tramps tonight.
God came because he chose us.