'For the great and powerful of this world, there are only two places in which their courage fails them, of which they are afraid deep down in their souls, from which they shy away. These are the manger and the cross of Christ. No powerful person dares to approach the manger, and this even includes King Herod. For this is where thrones shake, the mighty fall, the prominent perish, because God is with the poor and lowly.'
So speaks Dietrich Bonhoeffer quoted in his lovely advent book, God is in the manger. The manger and the cross. Two anchor points.. The manger takes us by surprise, since we are used to those who shout loudest getting their own way. We are impressed by status and station in life. The manger shatters our illusions. The cross of Christ humbles us. It insists that everyone needs a substitute, and someone to take their place. We are 'needy' whatever our attainments and emotional strength.
Thanks be to God for the manger and the cross.