December 25th– The Manger
21 After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Lk. 2:21)
Reflection (Jeff Lindsay):
How strange is the story of the manger?
The Shepherds were given a sign: go and see the Messiah of the world– a baby, wrapped in common cloth, and lying in… a manger? You’re apt to find things in many places, just not by rummaging through a wooden box– not anything precious, anyway.
A manger is a trough, either carved into stone or made out of wood, that held food for field animals. Cattle and donkeys would go looking there for hay because that’s what they expected to find. They were made to hold food for animals– not for babies, much less the Messiah.
When the angel appeared to the shepherds, they told them of a newborn baby– and this baby was the Savior, the Messiah, Christ the Lord– and He could be found in a nearby manger.
So the Shepherds went and found it– and that is where He was! A manger. Just a manger, with animals in a stable, outside a much too crowded inn. Mary may have filled it with hay to try to make a bed, but the surroundings of the stable were dark and dirty. They pointed to obscurity, poverty, and even rejection. The King of kings was born of poor circumstance. He was born into poverty itself, and into oppression.
Born into the world. Born as a human. Born to serve.
God chose to be born in a manger, to a poor carpenter’s son. God chose to leave the glory of Heaven and enter the world; to endure all its troubles; to enter all its pain.
To be born in a manger. For us.
What does God’s birth mean to you this Christmas season?
God of the Oppressed, lead us to the manger so that we can join you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.