[God] loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
–1 John 4:10
What is the significance of Jesus humbling Himself by being born in a cradle? First, the fact that Christ was willing to come and to be born under such humble circumstances reminds us that God loves us. He took the initiative in establishing a relationship with you and me.
Pastor Tim Zingale tells a story about a five-year-old boy named Tommy. Tommy loved to run and play. When he smiled, people said he looked like an angel. But Tommy did not smile much. His parents had died a few years earlier, and he was in an orphanage. One day, while Tommy was playing dodgeball by himself, he was unaware of what was happening at a local courthouse. There, Judge Johnson was listening to a couple explain why they wanted to adopt Tommy. They had driven by the orphanage one day and seen Tommy playing outside and decided they wanted him to become part of their family. Tommy was completely unaware of what was happening right down the street. A decision was being made that would alter the course of his life forever.
The Bible says that the Judge of all of the universe, before the beginning of time, decided that He wanted a relationship with you, and He set into motion the plan by which you and I would be adopted into His family through Jesus Christ. That is what the cradle of Christmas represents. God took the initiative in establishing a relationship with you to put you into His forever family. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). The cradle of Christmas means that God loves us.
Second, the cradle means that God forgives us. God became flesh so that He could be one of us and accomplish the mission of salvation. You may have heard the story about Molokai. The island of Molokai was used as a refuge for people who had leprosy. In 1873, a priest named Father Damien volunteered to go to Molokai to serve the lepers. When he arrived, he was startled to see people suffering not just physically but spiritually as outcasts. They had no hope, and because of that, they committed acts of immorality, drunkenness, and violence. They had the same questions we have: is there a God, and does He really care about us? So Father Damien helped them build a hospital and a church. Every Sunday he would lead a worship service, and he always began the service by saying the same thing: “My dear brethren.” Then one morning, in a calm, clear voice, Father Damien began, “My fellow lepers, I am now one of you.”
Jesus Christ, for no other reason than the love which He had for us, left Heaven and came to this island of hopelessness called planet Earth. He willingly took the curse for our sin so that He might point us to God. God became one of us so that we might be a part of His family.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Cradle, The Cross, And The Crown” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Brad Everett and Tim Zingale, “Jesus Is the Light of God to the Nations,” sermon at Grace Lutheran Church, Mountain View, AR, http://www.gracelutheranmountainview.com/sermon/jesus-is-the-light-of-god-to-the-nations/.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.