Beyond The Manger

On the 2nd of November, I felt very prompted to pray into our Christmas season. For me it is my first Christmas celebrating God’s miraculous intervention in my life. I declared that it would be a special Christmas where I would press into God and ensure it was a Christ centered Christmas; as a couple I desired us to have communion Christmas morning; and as a family that we would celebrate a closeness as the 4 of us.

15 days later as I reflected on Christmas I felt prompted to really search my heart. I felt God give me the following revelation to ponder: If Jesus’s story ended in the manger we could reflect on the great miracle Mary received, but it wouldn’t impact our lives (Luke 2:1-20). Reflecting on the manger is great and it reminds us that God came to earth in human form. But for me I wanted to really reflect on Jesus’ life beyond the manger. Because Jesus came for a reason and Christmas was just the start!

If Jesus’ story ended just after he was 12, we could reflect on the boldness of a young child to speak in front of the religious teachers (Luke 2:41-52). It is stated that: “All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.” We could read the transcript of what he said and be astounded but would that impact our lives?

If Jesus’ story ended just after he was baptised (Mark 1:9-11), we could reflect on the miracle of the heavens splitting open and the Holy Spirit ascending upon him in the form of a dove. But how would that impact our lives?

If Jesus’ story ended in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) because he succumbed to the devil’s temptations where would that leave us? Many people would understand why he did, after 40 days of fasting I imagine anything to end that would look appealing! Personally, I am a terrible hungry person! If I need food I have to have it NOW! My family can testify to that! I don’t just get hangery (a combination of hungry and angry) I get hangerypsychoticderangedinsufferable! Basically, feed me or run away! I’m trying REALLY hard to be better at it! Basically I would totally be unable to sustain 40 days fasting without divine intervention! Thankfully Jesus had enough strength to get him through the initial tests and then God sent angels to care for him!

If Jesus’ story ended after healing many and various teachings, we could reflect upon those stories and marvel at the wonder of his works and his words but would that impact our lives?

If Jesus’ story ended after he chose the 12 Apostles, without training them, it would have left them still lost and confused about why Jesus came. Their impact would have been minimal if anything. As it was the training direct from Jesus that impacted them and thus has impacted our lives!

If Jesus’ story ended after the feeding of the Five Thousand, we could read that story and think how wonderful it was but how would that impact our lives?

If Jesus’ story ended just after his transfiguration, reflection on the story could show us how wonderful it was that God, in human form, walked upon this earth. The transfiguration was the visual proof that Jesus was heaven sent! But does that change our lives?

If Jesus’ story ended just after his triumphal procession into Jerusalem, we could acknowledge that Jesus came, in the name of the Lord, and be grateful. But does that impact our lives? What did he come for if the story ended there?

If Jesus’ story ended just after Mary anointed him with perfume at Bethany, we could reflect on his attitude of forgiveness. But how would that impact our lives?

If Jesus’ story ended in the garden at Gethsemane we could understand. Jesus knew what was coming next and cried out in distress to God, admitting that he did not want to face the coming suffering. What Jesus suffered is unimaginable, so of course no one would blame him, but then our lives would not be impacted!

If Jesus’ story ended on the cross, we could be grateful that our sins are forgiven but that’s where it would end! Our life would pretty much continue as normal with no opportunity to be extraordinary!

The fact is that Jesus’ story has gone far beyond all of those events!

Because of the miraculous resurrection Jesus has the victory over sin; death; sickness; disease; and everything!!!!

Even more amazing – Jesus has sent us his Holy Spirit as promised in Romans 8:11 “ The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.” Then in Romans 8:17 we are called God’s children! We are told that together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory! (NLT paraphrased)

Now that is beyond comprehension! That we can have that amazing gift is mind blowing!

So this Christmas I want to reflect on:

All the things Jesus did after the manger

All the things Jesus has done for me since my initial salvation

All the things Jesus has done for me since my healing

All the things Jesus offers me for my life now and my future!

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:14 NIV

I pray that this coming Christmas can be a truly special time for you!

Emmanuel song

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