True to his orthopedic training, the good doc explained it in easily understood terms, “you’re having some pain when you bend your knee because that little cushion called cartilage between the bones in your knee joint is almost gone. And because of your age (I knew that was coming) the wear and tear that your knees have taken over the years, that little cushion on the inside is gone. And you need a cushion on the outside to get on your knees, right?

You know, knees are funny-looking things. They take all that abuse…bending, squatting, sitting, standing, jumping…and I’d be willing to bet that you’ve never said, ‘Oh, I’m so thankful for my knees.’

But just let one of ’em start giving you trouble. Like that sound of milk-over-cereal – snap, crackle, pop – when you do manage to take a knee. That’s when you come up with brilliant thoughts like – ‘OK, what else can I do while I’m down here?’ 

In my extensive (?) research on knees, I think I’ve stumbled across something … the cause of stiff knees. With much respect to doc’s medical training and skill, there’s another explanation. Stiff knees are caused by stiff necks.

Now that’s probably not going to be accepted for publication in any journal of medical discoveries that you’ll ever read.

Spiritually speaking, though, when we become stiff-necked (mule-headed stubborn), we have trouble bending our knees (bowing to anything or anybody). That’s not a wild idea after a sleepless night.

Actually, it came from studying a little figurine that’s one of two year-round Christmas ‘decorations’ (the other one is the little drummer boy) at our house. 

So before you schedule that total knee replacement surgery, let’s all try a little therapy on our stiff necks. In that little figurine, there are some eye-opening and heart warming  revelations.

First, Santa is OLD! And he’s enjoyed a few too many cookies and fruit cakes. But he had no trouble at all getting down on both knees beside the manger of Baby Jesus.

And speaking of eyes, look at Santa’s eyes – wide open in amazement and awe. And hands clasped in reverence and respect. Something tells me he wasn’t the least bit worried about knee pain or calling his elves to help him get back up. 

Another thing – I don’t see that big ol’ bag of presents for all good little boys and girls slung over Santa’s back. I’m thinking he knows his sack of stuff can’t hold a candle to the One true gift – the greatest Gift the world has ever known – that his eyes are gazing on right there in front of him. 

Also, can you see the look of joy on the face of baby Jesus?  We all love giving gifts that make people happy but nothing we could ever give can compare with John 3:16, the Gift of Love that brought Jesus to the manger.

Finally, and if you don’t remember anything else you’ve read here, don’t miss this! The arms of baby Jesus, even in the lowly manger, are outstretched. And 33 years later, His mighty arms were still outstretched as He hung on that old rugged cross.

He came to earth in a simple wooden cow-feeding trough. Covered in swaddling clothes. He left the earth on an ugly wooden cross. Covered in His own blood. It’s been 2017 years and still His arms are outstretched. That thought alone should be enough to bring us to our knees.

Someday, maybe soon, everybody in the world left standing, even those with stiff necks, will take a knee.