Close to the Cradle
The angels were on the verge of a brawl. As characters in our church’s nativity scene, a multitude of small girls outfitted in white gowns and halos had assembled around the cradle. Unfortunately, some eager cherubs decided that they wanted a better look at the baby. Pushing and elbowing ensued. Finally, one little girl turned to the audience and cried, “Mommy!” just before the nativity director ushered everyone off the stage.
I found something endearing about the little angels’ collective desire to be close to the infant Christ. For them, Jesus was the main attraction—the best and most significant part of the Christmas celebration.
Shortly after Jesus entered our world, a man named Simeon recognized Jesus’ significance—even as a newborn infant. God’s Spirit led Simeon to the temple where he met Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. Simeon had been “eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come” (Luke 2:25), and as he held God’s Son in his arms—imagine that incredible privilege—he exalted God, saying, “I have seen Your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations” (vv.30-32).
Mary and Joseph had to pick their jaws up off the floor. Then Simeon blessed them and talked more about their infant. He said, “This child . . . will be a joy to many” and “He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him” (v.34). Simeon was describing how those who believe in Jesus will be saved, but those who will not believe will fall into condemnation.
Remembering Jesus as a baby helps us to see Him as the best gift humanity has ever known—a gift of innocence, love, and salvation (John 3:16). This year at Christmas, reflect on the news that brought “great joy to all people” (Luke 2:10). Stay close to the cradle.
—Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Why do we sometimes have “no vacancy” signs plastered across our hearts during the Christmas season? How might you keep Jesus at the center of your celebration this year?