Christmas: Day 25-The Manger

Christmas: Day 25-The Manger

Day 25. December 25, 2019

Nativity Companion: The Manger

Opening Prayer:

God, thank you for the reminder we have of how you came into the world. You came through a manger, into a world that didn’t expect or want you. And yet, it was through this regular, humble way that you overturned the world, all of human history, and our lives. So might we live in alignment with your coming. Might we return to the manger throughout the year to welcome you and to then live our lives in concert with you as you seek to set the world aright. We give you thanks, Emmanuel- God-with-us.  AMEN.

Scripture:

Luke 2:39-40 (NRSV).

39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.

40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Reflection from Sara Silburn

I was no one’s dream for their baby.  A manger wasn’t part of a typical birth plan. And a stable was a terrible place to give birth. I thought Mary felt so alone that night. People romanticize me and cast me in starry moonlight with quiet cattle and softly slumbering sheep.  I wasn’t warm, or beautiful.  I was lowly: a feeding trough, utilitarian.

Mary placed Jesus in my arms, because there was nowhere else.  The world was unwelcoming to him because he was not what was wanted or expected. He broke the rules and made his own. Even that night, nothing seemed lovely. It all felt rather grim and tinged with fear.

I was used to the familiar mess of birth and life and death around me every day. Yet, as the night unfolded, everything upended. God decided to be a person who lived a life that meant making choices like birthing a child amongst animals, not in a house. God didn’t just choose to help or to rule, God chose to be poor and “regular” for God’s entire life. Jesus always spurned the castle and the crown of gold.  No one seemed to like what unfolded, and for those of us there that night, we knew a shift had come. A manger was made a throne.  Which to me, meant I got to be myself, and hold a king.

A king who came to say humble mangers are good things.

A king who came to up-end the world and set it right again.

Questions for Consideration.

  • Take some time this morning to go back to the manger. See the Christ-child anew. Spend some time in prayer, asking what God is inviting from you in this new year of living in alignment with God’s advent in our world.
  • Consider the ways of the powers of our world. How does God’s kingdom look different from these? What does/might this mean for how you live and order your life? What does this mean for how we do church?
  • What does it mean to be good neighbors in view of our following the king who came in a humble manger, the king who came to upend the word to set it right again?

Closing Prayer 

God, as we move into the rhythm of life that is informed by your coming into the world, might we live our faith in view of the manger. Might we hold Christmas in our hearts that our lives might reflect and be shaped in all ways by your advent and coming. And so, might we live our lives in service of a king, not of this world, but one who comes to set the world aright through a humble manger bed. We give you thanks and praise, O God. May your peace be on all on whom your favor truly rests. AMEN.