Come to the Manger

By: Dennis Bates

My wife often says she is glad she never became anybody famous because she wouldn’t want all the scrutiny famous people get when they mess up. And they will mess up in somebody’s eyes at some time. It’s just the way we’re wired.

The more important we are the more our foibles are magnified, especially by the media. My wife’s theory is that she’s not famous so nobody cares what she does or doesn’t do. There seems to be some truth in that. Politicians, evangelists, late night television personalities and some of the world’s greatest athletes have been featured in highly unfavorable lights this year.

If an ordinary person would have done what many of them did, it might have merited media attention for a few seconds or even minutes, but certainly not for weeks on end.

Would hundreds of free lance photographers be camping out a few days before Christmas watching a yacht in southern Florida, if the yacht owner’s last name was Schwartz or Simmons instead of Woods? In another jobI did divorce work and believe me infidelity was not invented by the rich and famous. Still some of my clients never got so much as a mention on the nightly news, not that they would necessarily want it, but you get my point.

It seems there is an insatiable appetite to bring down the high and mighty and then kick them while we have them down. Hardly a commendable attribute for those doing the kicking, but more and more people seem to feel they have some sort of Constitutional right to kick and an almost spiritual duty to use steel toed shoes while they are asserting that right. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course.

Sin is sin, no matter who the sinner is. To some it may be more newsworthy if the sinner’s last name is Letterman or Woods, or even Clinton, but it is not more wrong. God does not distinguish between the famous and the unknown. He condemns all sin, and, more importantly, He forgives it all if the sinner asks Him to.

We have to look no further than the Babe in the manger at this time of year to understand that. God didn’t sent His only son as a king or to the royals of the day. He didn’t send Him to the rich and famous. The Baby in the manger was sent to the entire world and the fact that He was sent to the average people or even the poor and lowly, doesn’t mean God favored the poor and hated the rich. That misses the whole point.

Jesus, as he grew up, said time and time again that His kingdom was not of this world. In other words, he came so people would understand that nothing that this world has to offer matters, one way or the other. What matters is what is in our hearts. Do we love one another? Do we help each other? Do we forgive each other? What are our motives and intentions? Those are the things that are important.

The flip side is equally true. Our sins are  no less significant than the rich and famous just because we don’t have a media entourage following us. Likewise, the sins of Tiger Woods, David Letterman, or any of the multitude of others are not more significant because they are notable. They’re the same as ours. We all need to rush to the manger and see the Baby who is Christ the Lord and ask for His forgiveness. He was born for all of us.

So the next time you’re tempted to pass on the latest Tiger Woods joke, for example, perhaps you should kneel at the manger instead and pray that Tiger, or Bill, or Jimmy or your neighbor Ben kneels beside you. That is what Christmas is really all about.

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