Crawling toward the Manger: Day One

Welcome to the journey.

It’s six a.m. I look out my back window, and all I see against the backdrop of darkness is my reflection in the glass, thanks to the light from my screen. This might seem gloomy, but that image seems to represent my season of life right now—looking into darkness and seeing only myself.

How fitting to begin this Advent writing journey in the dark, evocative of the hundreds of years of waiting, longing, and suffering that God’s people experienced as they journeyed toward the manger that first time. Their hope for a Savior often as dim as a lamp burning its last drop of oil.

The journey to Christ begins in a sin-induced darkness. That’s the reality of a broken world. Gospel principle number one: we are fallen.

Your hope, like the Israelites’, might be flickering its last flame. This journey is for you then, and I’ve titled it Crawling toward the Manger for a reason. We don’t always have the strength to run the race marked out for us, as Paul encourages. That doesn’t mean we don’t race. It means we drop to our knees.

The idea of crawling elicits that sense of desperation. It’s the act you succumb to when weariness roosts on your heart and pushes you down. The act that demonstrates your last bleeding desire to reach a goal, despite having spent your energy.

But crawling also screams of infancy, and hasn’t Jesus bid us come as children?

Experts in child development say that crawling is an essential step for an infant that is not good for an infant to skip. I take this to mean that—in all areas of life—crawling can be a necessary, enjoyable stage. When I remember my children crawling, I picture them with smiles, cruising across the floor on all fours. They didn’t see crawling as an act borne of desperation, but rather as a delightful freedom that ushered them into a new world of exploration.

You might crawl toward the manger in both ways: desperate and delighted. I know I will.

Because I began this post with a dark tone, let me end it with hope: we always crawl toward the Light. The manger is a place of exceedingly bright light. It’s the cradle of the Christ Child, Jesus. Our hope on this side of Bethlehem is that Jesus has come, the Incarnate Son, and that God the Father has said through this act: I am crawling toward you. I am coming for you.

But more on that tomorrow.

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5 thoughts on “Crawling toward the Manger: Day One

  1. As Advent begins I am again reading through the Scriptures about Jesus’s birth. Today the theme was His light shining in the darkness. Which went along with what you were talking about. This is a concept that I know but find it hard throughout the day to keep in mind:) Especially when it seems like the darkness is overcoming the light in our world. However, that is just it, it only seems like the darkness is overcoming the world because Scripture says the opposite.

    Isaiah 9:2 says

    The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
    those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone.

    John 1:1-5English Standard Version (ESV)

    The Word Became Flesh

    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    Praise God

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  2. Second to Easter, this is a time of greater reflection for me. I agree with Marci, the world seems so dark this year. All the more reason to share the true light of Christmas with those who have no hope. The state of our world must be terribly frightening to those who have not crawled to the cross. Without Jesus, it all seems so hopeless. Praying to be a bold follower, until His second coming.

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  3. Hi Sondra,

    Thanks for doing this Advent blog. Great insight in this first blog: the reality of humanity’s fallen dark state against the backdrop of God’s gracious bringing of light, hope, and life in Christ. Love the crawling analogy…

    Dad

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    1. My heart may at times seem dark and his light in my heart at times may seem dim! I hear you father God calling my name calling me out of my darkness and shame to come to The manger! As I craw toward the light of the manger I feel the darkness slowly fade away and the warmth of the hope of a new and better way; help me Holy Spirit I pray to get through this journey that I may look upon the face of my beloved saviors face one day!

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