Approaching the Manger. Approaching the Man.

It’s the Christmas season, which means it’s time to set up our trees, bright lights, nativities, and to crank up Christmas music for the few weeks that it’s considered socially acceptable.  Though I’ll be honest, I started all of this back in October.

As I think about the reason for the season, my mind focuses in on the precious baby Jesus, the one who came to save us all. If I were to imagine myself there in Bethlehem all those years ago, walking toward baby Jesus in His manger, I imagine I would be met with an inner conflict. Yes, this baby is to be the Savior of the world; however, I think I would be wrestling with the thought of how dirty I felt in His presence. He was born as an act of love to save me, yet if this baby could comprehend all the struggles in my brain and all the sins I wrestle with…well, wouldn’t that be a tad inappropriate?

He’s not a baby in a manger anymore.

The most quoted scene from the 2006 Will Ferrell movie, Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby, features a family who addresses their prayers at the dinner table by saying, “Dear Lord Baby Jesus.”

As I read through the New Testament, I cannot help but conclude that Jesus never desired to be addressed based solely on His innocence. But instead He has always desired for us to view Him as relatable, a Savior who can understand our struggles and our temptations but was without sin Himself. He wants us to know He will always provide a way out for us (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Jesus desires us to view Him as

He’s not surprised by our dirty or selfish minds.

As it says in Hebrews 4:15-16, “For we do not have a high priest {Jesus} who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

One of Satan’s biggest lies is to make us think that Jesus cannot handle our mess. After all, if we refuse to let Jesus into our struggle, if we refuse to open ourselves up to His voice, we will end up listening to Satan’s voice by default every time.

He wants to deal with our sin. He wants us to approach Him.

Jesus so strongly desires to be empathetic. When you’re at the point of struggle when you feel like the biggest failure ever, that’s the time to invite Jesus into your mess, not to shut Him out. He paid such a high price to be able to relate to you in that moment. Please accept it.

He is not a baby in a manger anymore. He grew into a man; one who was tempted but was without sin, a man who longs to fight for you to be free. So let’s do it; let’s do what Hebrews says and, “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence.”  It’s what baby Jesus would have wanted.

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