I grew up obsessed with SportsCenter on ESPN. Hardly a day passed where I didn’t watch it. Although other sports shows existed, nothing rivaled SportsCenter. Nothing. I’ll tell you why.
SportsCenter focused on highlights. The most explosive dunks. The longest home runs. The brightest stars. None of that extra fluff you see today. Expert commentary. Passionate debates. Yada yada. Who cares? Just show Lebron dunking over that dude again.
While great sports shows focus on highlights, we must be careful not to allow our lives to become a series of highlights. I fear this is true for too many of us. We live for the next big thing. “I can’t wait for the next season” is too often our mantra. It’s the next break or graduation. It’s the day when you enjoy more than three hours of sleep. It’s 5 o’clock on Friday or Christmas break or vacation. If we can just get through this season, right?
But the Incarnation has a different message, and we would be wise to listen. In Bethlehem, a small, sleepy town, in the pitch black of night, the son of God makes his “grand” entrance. To top it off, his first bed is a manger. Can you imagine Jesus’ newborn pictures?
“Hey, could you slide Immanuel to the left? Yeah, the manger too. I see some poo in the frame.”
I mean, c’mon God. Why a manger? Why Bethlehem? This is the Savior. His arrival should be a slam dunk. The highlight of all highlights.
I mean, honestly. If Jesus came today, I would probably miss him. No, I definitely would. Most likely, the angels would appear to Joe Blow, a nobody. He would be far too low on the ladder of success for me to validate anything he said, especially some claim about the Savior of the world. To put the proverbial icing on the cake, Mr. Blow would ask me to travel with him to see baby Jesus in some remote town, Crested Butte, CO, for example (No offense to my friends in Crested Butte..I’ve heard your little town is quite beautiful). At which point, I would break out in a gut laugh.
The Incarnation says the ordinary moments matter.
You see, the origins of God are found in the ordinary of life. Transformation occurs in the obscure. And the great task before us is to stop living for the next highlight and start looking for God’s promises in the ordinary and mundane.
God doesn’t just show up on the mountain top. He also shows up in the valley. Could it be we’re looking for Jesus in the wrong places? Is it be we’re discontent, simply holding on and trying to get by because we’re drinking the cultural coffee?
The birth of Jesus demands we change our perspective. Every second of every day is a holy manger, if we have eyes to see. Every conversation is sacred. Every stress-filled hour of exam prep…sacred. Every dirty diaper, every Tuesday night, the hours you spend in prayer or Scripture…sacred, sacred and sacred. Whether you stay at home with your kids or lead a Fortune 500 company, every moment of every day is holy. This declaration travels from a dirty manger in a small town to your living room, workplace, or wherever life has you right now.
The next time you’re tempted to abandon the present moment for something “better,” remember baby Jesus.
Grace and peace, friends.