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Lessons from the Manger

By December 22, 20142 Comments

We all know the story in Luke 2. Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem for Caesar’s census and found the inn full. However, someone mercifully allowed them to stay in a stable. Jesus was born there with only an unsanitary feeding trough available as his bed.

Because this story is so familiar, I easily overlook its significance. Instead of consuming and digesting God’s word so that it becomes real and personal, my tendency is to do just what James warns about—look in God’s mirror and turn away without change (Jam. 1:23-25).

So what is God showing me from the story of the manger today?

I am awed by God becoming a baby. That Jesus would voluntarily come to earth in such a form is amazing. (I don’t even want to go back to my teenage years, much less become a baby.) What a gift he gave when he chose to become one of us, accepting all of life’s experiences. Thus, my first response to the story is wonder and worship.

I am also struck by the extent of Jesus’ sacrifice to extend God’s love to mankind. His willingness to live humbly, beginning with his birthplace and crib, models a standard that I am generally unwilling to meet. I am too involved in my rights, my comfort, and my stuff to give them up for others. We women may sacrifice somewhat for our children but beyond that, we generally expect a return. Unless our husbands, family members, and friends do for us, we are not likely to sacrifice much for them and certainly not for anyone beyond that. And I am guilty as charged. My second response is confession and a desire to change.

This Advent I want to give more than material gifts. I hope to give of myself in ways that require sacrifice and humility in awe of the God who slept in a manger. I am asking him to guide me each day to ways of doing just that.

How does this story speak to you?


Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Evelyn B. says:

    Thank you for sharing your insights! Following your lead (way to influence others!), I looked again at the manger, and saw how Joseph and Mary were definitely in God’s will (God selected them!), and yet God’s lack of provision of a room in Bethlehem must have been very disappointing & confusing to them (can this really be God’s plan?). However, there is no record of Joseph and Mary questioning God or complaining, but rather of Mary’s treasuring & pondering what all was happening, as well as their continued faith and obedience – circumcision on the 8th day, presenting Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem – “everything required by the Law of the Lord” (Lk 2:39).
    So today God is telling me that “faith is not a feeling”, and I’m praying that my response when I’m feeling disappointed or not understanding His ways will be to focus on Him, to obey His guidance, & to trust His love and His sovereignty.

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