Sounds of breaking glass sent me flying into the next room to see what was going on. Here my toddler sat, looking so pleased with his rearrangement of the manger scene. Baby Jesus was MIA. In His place sat a tyrannosaurus rex. The camels were even on the roof of the stable, I’m sure fearfully awaiting their fate. To my little man, I’m sure the t-rex looked much more powerful than a little baby lying in some straw.
You would think I would hurry to replace the dinosaur invading the stable, but I left him there. After I removed my mischievous toddler and took a picture (as naughty as it was, I couldn’t help but laugh), I thought about how often we underestimate the power in the manger. We replace it with our own power or something else that the world would lead us to believe is much more powerful than a baby in a manger.
That’s where we are often still so blinded. We want to feel powerful, we want prestige, we hope to be popular. We want to hear hope from beautiful people telling us how to be happy, how to become skinny, how to find purpose, or how to get rich. But Jesus didn’t come on a platform that drew in crowds of prospering people. He came as a baby, born in a smelly stable, who drew in unlikely characters like the shepherds who were certainly not considered prosperous by society, but just the opposite. The Pharisees wanted a savior that made them look powerful and prestigious. How could there possibly be saving power in a man like Jesus? How could there possibly be saving power in a baby born in a stable?
Just because it doesn’t make sense to the world, doesn’t mean it isn’t right, in fact, it is often so much more right when it doesn’t make sense to the world. Let’s not replace the baby with the t-rex. Recognize the power He brought to us when He came to earth, even when the rest of the world, including many of us believers, do not. Paul pleads with believers to see and know and experience this power in Ephesians 1:15-23:
“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
Paul pleads because he knows not all people will experience God’s power, even those who believe in Him. He prays for the “eyes of their hearts to be enlightened.” He knows that people may believe in God, but they miss out on His incredible power that dwells within us. It’s right there, and we so often don’t recognize it is available to us.
It’s like we put all of the Christmas lights all over the house but never plug them in. We invite people over to show them these beautiful lights and maybe people are impressed by them, but they leave, not ever knowing how magnificent they are when they’re plugged in, lit up, and glowing brightly for all to see.
Let’s plug in to the power that is within us. Let’s shine brightly from the inside out.
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to know and experience the “hope that I’m called to,” “my glorious inheritance,” and “Your immeasurable power.” Remove the blindfold and help me to see when I trust in my own power or put my trust in the things of this world.
Help us all to have eyes to look at the manger this Christmas and recognize the saving power and hope that comes with the humble birth of our Savior.