This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
-- Luke 2:12
If you have a teenager, he or she has probably reminded you more than once that you just don't understand.
As a humble parent, you'll learn that you're hopelessly out of touch when it comes to clothes, school, curfews and a hundred other things. But of course, you know a lot more than you're given credit for. You were once a teenager. And you probably said many of the same things to your own parents.
So, maybe you really do understand after all. At least a little bit.
Do you ever wonder if God really understands all of the problems and trials that you face every day? The familiar Christmas story as told in Luke's Gospel holds the answer. It's there that we read about Jesus coming into this world in the poorest of circumstances, with a manger--an animal's feeding trough--as His first bed.
But why was it like that? As the King's son, Jesus could have lived in marble palaces while enjoying only the finer things in life. And God could have commanded the people to worship and obey Him.
But it wouldn't have been the same. As our loving Father, God refuses to force anyone to accept His free gift of forgiveness and salvation. And since he knew from the beginning that men and women were without hope because of the way they lived their lives, God came to earth in the form of a man to live the perfect life. But not just any man: He came to live among us through Jesus Christ.
Jesus was also born into poverty. And throughout His ministry, the religious elite despised Him and cursed Him--even though He was the Son of God. Eventually, He would die in one of the most painful and humiliating ways possible--a public crucifixion with two common criminals.
"It is finished!" our Savior proclaimed as He hung from the cross. And then His mission here was complete. By coming to earth, experiencing mankind's struggles and then suffering for all of us, God got to know each of us just a little bit better.
It was the only way He could truly understand.