“Look Mommy, he has brown eyes, just like me. Jesus has brown eyes just like me.” Was what my son exclaimed yesterday at church when he walked up to the life-size manger in the foyer. My son is 4 years-old. He’s just learning about baby Jesus. This is the first year that Christmas is also Jesus’s birthday to him and that Jesus is a baby. The baby doll in the life size manger at church just happened to have brown eyes. I’m sure Jesus is two people in his mind. The grown up on a cross and the baby were talking about at school and during Advent at home. He was so excited that Jesus was like him. For a small moment Jesus was more than a story about someone he couldn’t see, He was real.
What he said stuck with me more than even the sermon yesterday morning. “just like me.” I don’t often think of Jesus as “just like me.” I’m often more focused on how different we are, how much harder I have too work to be like him. But there are similarities that we forget about that we don’t have to work to be like.
We were all babies, just like Him. We all grew, just like Him. We will all die, just like him. Not on a cross but we will all experience death. He grieved like us when Lazarus died, when his father Joseph died. For me in my most painful moments, the 10 days I laid in bed with a ruptured disk before surgery I often thought. He experienced pain like mine.
You see we worship and serve a Lord who loved us enough to spend 33 years being just like us in so many ordinary ways. So that we could meet his challenge to live just like Him. How many times have I felt despaired and alone in my pain or disappointment only to realize He felt these same things and promised not to leave me alone. He loves us so deeply he was willing to experience life, all aspects of it, just to give us common ground. I believe that is why He is such a great comforter, father and friend to those who love Him. This season I challenge you to let Him be more than just a Holy baby in a manger, untouchable and revered, let Him also be close and real, just like you.