God loves to be close to those He loves.
Want to know how I know?
The story of Jesus coming to earth as a baby in a dirty barn says a lot about a God who would go to great lengths to be close to those He loves.
Sometimes it can feel like He’s distant, or worse, uncaring. But those are feelings, not facts.
The fact is, He left Heaven in all its perfection to come to a dirty, sin-filled, chaotic planet just to provide eternal hope to mankind.
Did I mention mankind would reject Him, mock Him, murder Him? He did it anyway. Because He loves to be close to those He loves.
It’s almost time for our Christmas Eve services here at Crossroads Community Church where I pastor in Vancouver, WA, and I’m reminded of a story of a family getting ready for Christmas Eve services one year.
Mom and the kids were dressed and ready to go. But Dad was a different story. He sat silently reading the paper in his robe and slippers as the rest of the family headed to the door to leave for church.
“It’s not too late for you to join us,” mom said as she held her breath, hoping he would have a change of heart.
“No thanks,” he said, avoiding her gaze. “I’ll see you when you get back.”
The family left and he was enjoying the peace of the evening. There was a light snow falling as he stoked the fire. He settled in his recliner with the remote, when he heard a faint noise at the back door. He went to look out the window but there was no one there.
He settled back down in the recliner when he heard the noise again….a faint scratching sound at the back door. He stood up again with a huff. He marched to the back door and swung it open, and there in the snow he saw what was making the noise: A litter of kittens.
They were trying to find some warmth on a freezing cold Christmas Eve night. He immediately went to scoop them up and bring them inside, but they scurried away in fear. He tried again, this time he crouched down and moved slowly. No luck. They were too scared to get near to him.
He sat down in the doorway, snow flurries blowing in, waiting for the kittens to allow him to get near. He pulled his robe tightly around him, trying to stay warm.
“Why won’t they let me get close? Can’t they see I’m just trying to help? I wish there was a way to convey to them that they can trust me….I wish I could become a kitten. That would do it. I could communicate with them and show them the way to safety.”
It was at that moment that he saw Christmas in a whole new light. This is exactly what God did. He saw mankind in a pitiful place, in desperate need of a Savior. So He became exactly like them, to reach out to them so they would trust Him and follow Him to eternal life.
The man blinked back a tear as he took in all that was swirling through his mind. “Oh Lord, I see it now. The baby in a manger was you doing whatever it was going to take to show us you love us.”
He felt something nudge his foot. A little kitten had ventured near in curiosity. He scooped him up and held him to his chest. The rest of the litter came close, and he was able to get them safely inside.
My prayer for all of you is that you see the baby in a manger as a God who would do anything to get near to those who need Him the most. You can trust Him wherever He leads you.
Because He loves to be close to those He loves.