… it is Luke, perhaps, who leaves us with the most profound, the most enduring image of God from these stories of a child’s birth. It is not only standing beneath a cross that we find ourselves face to face with God. The same happens when we kneel beside a manger. That is why we celebrate Christmas with such gusto, and why some people who cannot handle our God at other times of year are strangely drawn towards him then. For at Christmas we all find ourselves with a God who does not threaten or condemn, but a God (wonder of wonders!) we can hold in our arms; a God who does not wish to be left out in the cold and needs the warmth of our hospitality and care; a God who comes very close and makes himself at home; who stands on no ceremony and has no majesty about him except the majesty of love; a God who is accessible to all and who brings those on the edge of society into the centre of his circle; a God crying in the world’s dark, whose tears we must dry; a God who seems so small, so vulnerable, and yet is large enough to to hold the universe in his embrace.
When there are so many fearful images of God going the rounds of our world and its many enmities and conflicts, and when the dark side of religion is so often turned towards us, there is an urgent need for us to find this God who lies in a manger. Quick! Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.
from The Christmas Stories by Trevor Dennis