We are drawn to this image. The manger scene never grows old. We buy them and place them on our mantles, in our yards--large and small ones. It is the story of hope. Of God, Who has come to earth. Of the possibility of peace. Children and seniors are both moved by it. The poor and the powerful.
There are cameo moments in Scripture where some godly man knelt and history pivoted. Abraham, on seeing the three angels, one of them, the Angel of Yahweh, "... ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground" (Genesis 18:2). This was a life-changing moment for him and arguably, for the world--the barrenness was broken. Sarah would now have the long-awaited child, 'Laughter,' known to us as Isaac.
Men have, throughout history, bowed before the throne of God. In the incarnation, God came to earth, and men bowed before him (Jesus)--and out of Him flowed blessing.
The etymological root of the word bless in the Old Testament is--to kneel! The implications of the idea are explosive. To kneel is to position oneself for blessing from God. It is a declaration of dependence. It is an act of humility. It is the tranquility of stillness--how can we move about on our knees? It is the lowering of self. It is coming beneath the shadow of God. It anticipates God above, hovering, touching, giving life, brooding, anointing, imparting--blessing!
It the opposite of arrogance, of self-sufficiency, of proudly standing by one's own strength. It is the end of pride. In the Hebrew mind, the knees were an indication of strength and therefore, to bend a knee, was to subordinate strength to God. Prayer, kneeling, is learning to lean into His strength. To kneel is to seek the blessing of God. It anticipates a positive response. It expects the gift of grace. It awaits a sense of His loving presence. It looks forward to what God might say or do!\
At this Christmas season--take time to kneel before the Lord!