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Bear Hug from a Manger

• Greg Boyd

In an age when rulers were given titles like “savior” and “lord”, the true Savior of the world was born. The birth of Christ brought about a Kingdom that looks very different from the way the kingdoms of this world operate. In a lowly manger, God declared that his Kingdom was not of this world and that his love and salvation would embrace all of human kind.

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In an age when rulers were given titles like “savior” and “lord”, the true Savior of the world was born. The birth of Christ brought about a Kingdom that looks very different from the way the kingdoms of this world operate. In a lowly manger, God declared that his Kingdom was not of this world and that his love and salvation would embrace all of human kind.

In God’s kingdom the social order of this world is collapsed. It was to simple shepherds that the proclamation of the birth of the Messiah was first declared by the angels. Shepherds were not considered reputable, respectable or important within their society. Yet, it was to them that the angels appeared proclaiming the birth of the Savior. Kings of the world attract and desire dignitaries in their presence. However, God comes to those who are the lowly, the downcast, the ordinary and desires to be with them.

In this world there is trust in power and ruling over others. However, the Kingdom of God represents a power under, serving, self-sacrificial kind of love. The shepherds were told that they should look for a sign. The sign was that they would find the Messiah as a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. The word “sign” in the passage is Greek (signa) and meant signature. A sign or signature was an indication of the kind of reign that the ruler was going to have. God shows his signature by appearing in a lowly, humble state that significantly contrasted the kingdom of this world. Jesus was born in a manger, not in an imperial seat where rulers of this world would have sat if they were born.

The kingdoms of the world thrive on self-interest, conflict, distinctions and building up walls against people. However, Christ came to serve, love and reconcile all people to God. The angels announced to the shepherds that the Messiah’s birth was good news to all people. The good news is that Christ came to save and reconcile us to God and one another. It does not contain restrictions or parameters. It is not based on nationality or life situations. God loves all, died for all and desires all to be in relationship with Him. Passages like I Corinthians 15:22 and Romans 5:18-19 declare his heart. All people are included in this invitation, but all do not accept.

The hope of the world is not based on this world, but in God’s power and love transforming people one at a time. It is good news of great joy! Our job as believers in Jesus Christ is to communicate this good news to others by reflecting God’s love in word and in action.

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Topics: Kingdom of God, Power


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 2:8-12

    And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

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