The feeding trough shown in the image may or may not be accurate. The strips of cloth that swaddled the Baby Jesus were probably not left in that manger either. Most of what we imagine about that first Christmas has been portrayed in different ways over the centuries since the first Christmas, but the message doesn’t change. Jesus is God – made human flesh – born of a virgin – a man of sorrows and poverty – yet He would be the necessary payment to ransom all mankind from the clutches of sin. He left His heavenly throne behind, because His love for us was much greater than we can imagine.
The cloths that swaddled Him would one day be replaced with burial cloths. His dead body would be wrapped again after hanging upon a torturous cross. Bloodied and bruised, after facing a kangaroo court of religious and political enemies, He submitted to the death sentence willingly. His followers left. He went uncomplaining to His death as the innocent, unblemished Lamb of God. A shroud was placed over his swollen, beaten and abused face. The Son of God would die, but that was not the end of the story.
Christmas is the beginning. Jesus came to earth to change our relationship with God. Once again, we would be reconciled with our Creator. It was the promise made in the Garden of Eden. The entire story seems unbelievable and even foolish to those who don’t believe, but it’s the greatest reality love story ever told. Jesus shed those burial clothes and came back to life after defeating the devil. He rose from death and will return again. Jesus is our Christmas present. He alone is the reason we celebrate this time of year. You won’t find a better one anywhere.
John 3:16 KJV: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.