Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Mid-Week Message - The Manger

"She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them."  Luke 2:7

Each week throughout the Christmas season, I would like to use this article to take a closer look at some of the elements of the Christmas story that are less discussed.  I believe that our Father was very meticulous in what He chose for His son's birth and that we have something to learn from everything and everyone that was involved.  This week, I would like to examine the first earthly dwelling of Jesus, the manger itself.

We don't know exactly what it was comprised of.  It may have been hewn from a rock, or it may have been, as we are used to seeing, created of wood.  Either way, it was a vessel created for animals to feed from.  If you have pets, you know that food and water bowls get grimy very quickly.  The saliva from the animal, mixed with remnants of food create quite a mess.  Those who have larger animals, such as cows or horses, know this on a greater level.  

This filthy container would have been crudely created, certainly not a decorative piece.  Assuming that it was made of wood, we know that the materials would not have been pressure treated, so most likely it was splintering because of the elements of the weather and the use by the animals.  It certainly was not a place that would be a first choice for a newborn infant.  And what of the hay?  Hay can be prickly and full of rough stems and even insects.  Were it not for the swaddling, baby Jesus would have been laying on a bed that was quite uncomfortable.  

Now that we have a mental picture of this bed, we have to ask why the manger and what can we learn from it.  Just as Jesus filled that trough, so He fills us.  When we come to Him we are dirty with sin, unrefined in the ways of the Lord.  We are in need of spiritual repair.  If you will, we are full of splinters and certainly not suited for the Son of God.  Yet, He loves us enough to enter our hearts and begin the process of cleaning us up, sanding away our rough edges and preparing us for life in Heaven, the most royal place ever.  

As you go through your week, think about the manger.  It was no accident that it was the first place our Savior was lain.  It presents a beautiful picture of the redemption of mankind.  God bless you.

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