Maybe you have taken it for granted, but have you noticed that every manger scene enjoys at least a cow and few sheep staring at the Christ Child? Yet our accounts of Christ’s birth don’t mention these animals explicitly. Although, the fact that there is a manger requires animals to be some what nearby.
Still, do we like animals there because it pleases the children or because it gives us a pleasant backwoods scene? Perhaps both. Or perhaps the animals belong there. In fact, to ignore not only cows and sheep, but supernovas, paramecia, worms, H2O, and the dust under your fingernails bowing down at His birth, is to not grasp the identity of this tiny Child.
St. Paul says as much, “For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)
We often frame Jesus, Christianity, and discipleship as a particular religion or way of life. We often believe that Christmas is only for Christians. But it is far more than that. Christmas is not a particular belief of some people. It is reality. Jesus is not a savior of Christians, but of all human beings. In fact, the savior of the whole universe.
Jesus, Himself, says it well: “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Jesus replies in Luke 19, as the Pharisees criticized His disciples for calling Him King.
Jesus’ birth, more pointedly His death and resurrection, affects every atom and sub-atomic particle, dark matter, etc. “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:19)
You see, Christmas changed everything. Jesus holds all things together, including your dog. In Him is lIfe. He will not be denied. It is finished. The stone has been thrown into the universe’s pond. The waves are moving. The sea will be calmed. The wind will halt. Sins are forgiven. Death has been conquered. All things come from Him and all things return. The Good News is you have been washed by this wave and caught in His grace.
So keep the animals in your manger scene. Let them all bow down and enjoy their Lord and King.