Baby Jesus,
laid in manger,
King of earth
on earth a stranger.
As a man,
no sure abode,
teaching folk
the ways of God.
At the last
a crown they gave him -
crown of thorns
for him who loved them!
On a cross
they cruelly nailed him,
saw him suffer,
mocked and railed him.
Man of sorrows,
borrowed grave-place!
King of earth,
he died to save us!
Couldn't hold him -
rose victorious!
Ever with us,
King all-glorious!
and baby Jesus -
love of God
to help and save us!
As a baby
cannot keep him
lying there
in Bethlehem.
Welcome him,
the risen Saviour!
Crown him,
crown him Lord of all!  
Christmas will soon be on us. Already the shops are festooned with decorations and the music and advertising are pressing us to spend up for the big celebration.
Although it is still "Christmas", it is becoming more and more a secular celebration with an emphasis that has less to do with the birth of "Christ". And yet, there are still many for whom the story of the baby in the manger is so important that church attendance at Christmas-time is a "must".
Christmas, Good Friday, Easter... That's it! We think of them separately, but it's important to see them together. More than any one else who has ever lived, Jesus was "born to die" - his destiny and ours are tied up in these events.
We cannot look back at the babe in the manger without knowing about the cross and the resurrection. The Jesus who greets us at Christmas isn't a baby in a manger - helpless, unable to focus his eyes, so contained and dependent.
We can't keep him as a baby - or even celebrate the events of his birth as we might for some other significant historical figure long since dead and gone.
He is alive from human death and exalted at the right hand of God the Father. Welcome him, the risen Saviour! Crown him, crown him Lord of all!
A very Happy Christmas to you and yours! May you know the joy of what God has done for us in Christ - now and throughout the coming year!

© Peter J. Blackburn, Burdekin Link, December 2000