The pilgrimage mankind makes to the manger is one that stretches across time, countries, languages, and peoples. As the genealogies of Christ found in the Gospels attest – generation after generation played a role in preparing mankind to receive Jesus Christ. However, though he’s not found in the genealogy, there was no figure from the Old Testament more consequential than Moses. It is also in Moses that we find a Christ figure – but perhaps the greatest similarity can be found in what they gave up, more than what they did.
The birth of Moses is well-known: He was born at a time of persecution of the Hebrews living in Egypt. He was hidden in a basket, floated downstream and found by Pharaoh’s daughter, then raised in the royal family. When he grew up, he renounced that royalty in order to live in solidarity with his people and liberate them. Christ himself is also from royalty, the supreme royalty in fact. But when he came in the Incarnation he didn’t come as a king in glory, but as a child. He became one of us in order to liberate us.
The similarities don’t end there. Moses led his people through the Red Sea into freedom from the Egyptians. Christ also leads us through water, our baptism, in order to free us from our slavery to sin. Moses doesn’t force his people to follow and neither does Christ force us to live in the freedom he offers. Christ isn’t a coercive leader, forcing us to follow him. Though it is certainly in his power to do so, he would rather be with us in this life. He wants our love not our subjection.
Just as Moses wanted to live in solidarity with his people, so too does Christ want to live in solidarity with us – so much so that he would leave his supreme royalty in order to become a newborn baby in a manger.
[The Aleteia community is joining the journey of an Old Testament pilgrim each day this Advent, as they lead us to the Christ Child in this holy season. Find the daily reflections here.]