Christmas and music go together like the Holly and the Ivy, Like partridges and pear trees. Christmas and music go together like chestnuts and open fires.
Away In a Manger is a simple song about the little Lord Jesus who grows up to be big Lord Jesus! The original name of this song is Luther’s Cradle Hymn, because people thought Martin Luther wrote this song for his own children. But, we don’t really know who actually wrote the first two verses that first appeared in the Little Children’s Book in 1885. The third verse was written by a pastor named Dr. John McFarland in the early 1900’s for his church’s children’s program.
Away in a Manger
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head; the stars in the sky looked down where He lay, the little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
The cattle are lowing; the Baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes; I love Thee, Lord Jesus! look down from the sky, and stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay close by me forever, and love me, I pray; bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, and fit us for heaven, to live with Thee there.
Jesus laid everything down and left the glory of heaven to be born in a lowly manger. Because His love was willing to travel so far and so low, there’s no place on earth that the love of God can’t reach. What Christmas really means is that because of Jesus, God isn’t very far away at all. In fact, God came very close to you and me in the person of Jesus!
1. Jesus was completely human.
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
Jesus went through the same things that every other person goes through. He got hungry. He got tired. He experienced pain and conflict. He was a person like you and me in every way, except Jesus never sinned.
Because before Jesus came, people knew about God, but when Jesus came, people could know God. They could see and touch Him.
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. Colossians 1:15
Because Jesus is totally human, it means He knows what we go through every day.
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. Hebrew 4:15
There’s nothing you’re going through that Jesus doesn’t understand because He was completely human!
2. Jesus was completely God.
Before Jesus was born in the manger, He already existed!
In the beginning, the Word [that’s Jesus] already existed. He was with God and He was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that He didn’t make. John 1:1-3
Jesus was 100% human and 100% God, 100% of the time. Jesus wasn’t half God and half man. Jesus wasn’t a man who became a god. He combined both God and man in one person. He was fully human and fully God.
How do we know that Jesus is really God? If you look in the Old Testament, there are dozens of prophecies about the Messiah. The Old Testament was painting a fingerprint of what the Messiah was going to be like and who it would be. And Jesus came along and He perfectly fit that fingerprint. If you look at the life of Jesus, His life is a checklist to the prophecies: born of a virgin, born in Bethlehem, from the lineage of Jesse and King David, of the tribe of Judah, that shepherds and kings would worship him, that the King would kill all the little boy babies under two years old, and that his earthly father Joseph would run away with Jesus to Egypt, and those are just the prophecies about Jesus’ birth that prove who Jesus is.
3. Jesus is the only Way to Heaven.
Jesus made possible the only way to get to Heaven. We live in a world of choices, there are literally 1 million 63 thousand 953 drink choices at Sonic! How can there only be one way to God? Jesus himself said,
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
It doesn’t matter how sincere you are, you can be sincerely wrong. But our culture likes to level the playing field and put all ideas and opinions at the same level. We want to be tolerant towards others and the desire for tolerance has tipped the scale of truth. Our culture has made people’s subjective opinions more important than objective truth.
God isn’t exclusive about anyone coming to Him, but He is exclusive about Jesus. All are welcome to come to God, but Jesus is the only way.
God isn’t late with His promise. He is restraining Himself on account of you, holding back the end because He doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change. 2 Peter 3:9
There’s some common ground when it comes to religions. But it always comes down to one word: Works. You have to earn your way to God by doing more good things than bad things. But when Jesus says, “I am the way,” He puts Christianity in a whole separate category of its own. Christianity is Jesus as God coming to us, not us earning our way to heaven. Jesus taught the exact opposite of what other religions teach.
There’s nothing else like Christianity because there’s nobody else like Jesus.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
When Jesus came to earth that first Christmas, everything changed.
Jesus is The Way in a Manger
If you’re a follower of Jesus, you are walking on the narrow way that Jesus made for us to go.
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 (NLT)
Jesus says that the broadway, the wide way, is the Highway to Hell! If we know that, then those of us on the narrow way of Jesus need to care about all the people on the broadway to death.
That’s why we started The Connection Church. It’s not for us, but it’s for the people who don’t know the way. This is a hospital for the broken, bruised, and battered. We exist for those who aren’t here yet. We can’t not care. We have to be even more intentional about reaching out to people with God’s love.
Jesus is the Truth in a Manger
You don’t have to know everything. You just have to know Jesus, because Jesus said He is the truth! In fact, Jesus didn’t just tell the truth, He was the living embodiment of truth.
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)
When you start examining the evidence about whether Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, the evidence is overwhelming! The more I’ve studied the evidence, the more certain I am that Jesus is who He says He is and Jesus can do what He says He can do! You don’t have to understand everything, you just need to move forward with the faith that you have. And that faith is based on the evidence!
Real questions can be met with real answers. You will find those answers in the Bible. There is enough in the Bible for a lifetime of discovery of the Truth. So our challenge is to prioritize the pursuit of the truth.
Jesus is The Life in a Manger
Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a relationship. It’s a personal connection with Christ.
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10 (NLT)
Jesus is the Life! Jesus wants to give you a rich, full, joyful, abundant life! Think about the fact that the all-powerful God of the Universe wants to have a relationship with you! He wants that so much that He left the majesty and glory of Heaven to be born away in a lowly, smelly, nasty manger. His love reached so far so that He could reach all the way to where you are today.