Hands placed the baby in a manger. The manger was likely made of wood and normally was a type of feeding trough for animals.
Hands placed the man on a cross. The cross was made of wood and was used to crucify those sentenced to death.
Babies usually go where people carry them and stay where they are placed. Their bodies have not developed enough for them to individually maneuver about to any great extent.
Those headed to the cross stay where they are placed. While they normally have the physical capability to maneuver about, most movement is restricted when their hands and feet are nailed to the cross.
Babies usually don’t have a lot to say as to where they are placed. They normally have not reached the stages of development wherein they could have any say in the matter.
Those about to die by crucifixion usually don’t have a lot to say as to where they are placed. The trial, the determination of guilt, and the subsequent sentencing have already occurred and they longer have any say in the matter.
A wooden manger represented a very humble environment in which to be placed. As it was designed as a place where animals would be fed, the baby likely shared living space with animals.
A wooden cross represented a very humiliating way to die. A crucifixion was normally held in a very public place. Since two other criminals were crucified with Him, He shared dying space with criminals.
Jesus voluntarily left Heaven and dwelt among mankind in human form. Such form started out in the womb of a woman and then first appeared as a baby, allowing Himself to be placed in that manger.
Jesus voluntarily remained among mankind to adulthood. At one point, caught up in the legal system, He was put through a sham trial and was declared guilty. While He was actually innocent, He allowed Himself to be placed on that cross.
The Apostle Paul framed this as a description of the “beginning” for Jesus:
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Phil 2:5-7)
The Apostle Paul also framed this as a description for the “end” for Jesus:
“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:8)
While many might look back at the crucifixion and the death of Christ and see it as a real end, it was actually a “new beginning” since Jesus was raised from the dead.
Wood, while such a very basic organic part of the earth, played a part in Jesus’ willingness to dwell among mankind. Wood was also a part of His humility and shame but more so, it was part of how He dealt with our sin. Wood, while such a very basic organic part of the earth, can point us so to a Savior and to a new beginning!