How do we get from Away in A Manger to a beach and footprints in the sand and the line from the beautiful Christmas lullaby, ” and take us to heaven to live with you there?” Well, it is simple really.
When Jesus was born, He was away in a manger. Not the wooden kind but a stone one. He was swaddled and laid there as He would be someday entombed. Because He loved us and came to die. God does not miss a beat in the Bible, every jot and tittle has meaning, literal, figurative, and even sometimes, numerical, and lots of times, hidden.
Our new lives are hidden to make us seek Him out like the wise men. And we follow in His footsteps just like walking by the Sea of Galilee. We trudge along like disciples, argue like them, but dare we deny or betray?
Too often we are trying to take up cross and carry it, as He told the disciples. Yet, He made us sons and daughters, I don’t think any of us are able to carry what He did and that’s what I’d like you to know, He took our place.
And I think that is why we see in that Footsteps poem, that He was carrying us. How true that as we walk along the beach, there are one set of footprints, ours, then two His and ours, and then back to one. I know what He has carried me through. Sometimes, I wonder if He ever put me down. If He did, He must have picked me back up again, because I have overcome so much.
So, yes a beautiful baby lay away in a manger, no crib for a bed, no bumper pads and mobiles, stuffed toys but real sheep, He may have had a traditional sort of Hebrew blanket, or have been swaddled in a talit or prayer shawl. It was likely linen as the grave clothes would be. Not the baby blue warm and fuzzy ones.
But nothing held down that love, He did not have to be nailed, He had no place to lay His sweet head, until a cross was given to Him to carry, upon an already agonized and beaten brow and bloodied body. The little Lord Jesus, now crucified Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head.
He may not have cried much as a baby. But He cried on a hillside, in a garden, yes, Jesus wept, for Jerusalem, for you and I and for the world. And He cried with a loud voice, ” It is finished! ” Now that baby is risen and our beloved High Priest, still watching over us, and one day whether by the Rapture of the church, which I believe is imminent, or if He redeems us from death, He will take us to heaven to live with Him there. Many wil lbe alive and we must be remaining in His love. Rebecca Jones / pexels