The Gift of the Manger
One part of the Christmas story that we are familiar with is the manger. But as is often the case with familiarity, meaning is lost. So, let me ask you, what do you see when you look at the manger? When I think of the manger, two thoughts come to mind.
First, Luke tells us that “…a Savior has been born to you…” (Luke 2:11). That little child born 2000 plus years ago and placed in the manger is our Savior. But what did He save us from? This is the question I have been pondering. For me, I know that Jesus is saving me from selfishness. He is saving me from my life of lust and comparison of others. He is saving me from my judgmental ways and He is saving me and in many ways has already saved me from becoming my worst possible self. You see, He saves us all from guilt and shame, from hopelessness and despair, from fear and death. He saves the addicts from their addictions and gives them new life. He save us from being self absorbed, resentful, bitter, angry people, and transforms us into people who live with freedom, hope, and joy. We all need a Savior and that is what that little baby who was placed in a manger on that first Christmas night is. So, in what areas of your life do you need a Savior?
Secondly, Luke mentions the manger three times in his account of the Christmas story (Luke 2:7, 12, 16). For the shepherds, the manger was a sign; it was where they would find the Christ child. I wonder if the manger is also a sign for us. The manger is where God’s creation comes to eat. Friends, what we really hunger for, what we really desire cannot be fulfilled with a gift under a tree on Christmas morning. We all hunger for meaning, for joy, and for hope in the face of despair. We hunger for a love that will not let us go. We hunger for life and triumph in the face of death. We hunger for forgiveness and salvation.
But here’s the thing. What we are hungry for, what we desire the most comes only from the baby who was born in a stable and placed in a feeding trough. We must come to the manger to satisfy the deepest desires of our hearts.
"May God's greatest Gift be our greatest joy." - Ann Voskamp