Matthew’s gospel clearly defines the name Jesus which includes the reason he has come as a babe in the manger, and the reason he will come in victory. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Within that small verse is the whole of the life of Jesus; it includes his birth, life, death and resurrection. It includes his sinless life, his goodness and healing, his suffering and death, his eternality and victory over all of the powers of evil. It includes “his people,” the Jews who embraced him and later the engrafted gentiles. It includes the sins of his people which he carried to the cross.
Many years ago, one of my sisters, who is a Latter Day Saint, visited one of our older relatives who lived in Utah. The relative with her husband were for many years missionaries on a reservation. Although I never met either of them, I felt a deep kinship with them when, my sister said “She reminded me of you, always talking about Jesus.” And is there anyone else to speak of?
Charles Williams in his surrealistic novel, The Place of the Lion, records an interesting conversation between one of the main characters and an older couple who have just left their small church and communion. The main character, Richardson, has been standing outside watching with delight as he notes a magnificent Unicorn (an ancient symbol of Christ) sending grace to each participant as they take communion. After the initial conversation about the “happy service” the older woman asks a question:
“She hesitated, fumbling with her umbrella; then taking sudden courage, she took a step towards Richardson and went on, ‘You’ll excuse me, sir, I know it’s old-fashioned, and you quite a stranger, but—are you saved?’
Richardson answered her as seriously as she had spoken, ‘I believe salvation is for all who will have it,’ he said, ‘and I will have it by the only possible means.’
‘Ah, that’s good, that’s good,’ the old gentleman said, ‘Bless God for it, young man.’
‘I know you’ll pardon me, sir,’ the old lady added ‘you being a stranger as I said, and strangers often not liking to talk about it. Though what else there is to talk about …’
‘What indeed,’ Richardson agreed …”
Come, Babe in the manger, Lord of the universe, redeemer King, Jesus Christ.