Managing the Manger
During this season of advent, I have been pondering and meditating on each figure in the crèche. I have asked each morning for the Lord to show me more truth, meaning, and understanding of how each person and their action relates to me 2000 years later. The good news I hear in my spirit and mind has made this season holy.
The new babe wrapped in swaddling clothes represents the warmth of His promises to me. As swaddling comforts a new baby, I too am comforted by the good news in the Bible.
The manger scene evokes peace in any artist’s rendition. Angelic singing surrounds the scene proclaiming glory in the highest and peace to mankind. As I draw near Him, I feel his peace. 2015 creates a need for peace in this world like we have never known. We seek His peace amidst international stress, the refugee plight, the random madness of terrorist and crazed men, and the awareness of poverty here and across the globe. I cry out for peace unto our world as I draw near Jesus and am comforted by His pure love.
I seek. I seek daily understanding of the Spirit’s plan for my life. Just as the wise men sought out the king, they had to travel a long distance. They anticipated but did not truly grasp what they would find. The wise men brought gifts to offer the newborn babe and knelt down at his crib. They found him and worshipped him. These sages teach me the importance of the gifts of hope, time, and worship. Why worship? (John 4:23) When I worship, I am changed. The light within me is ignited. The heart of God knows no distance. He changes our attitudes and erases the furrowed wrinkles in our brow. He touches us when we worship. May I hold onto this teaching all year long?
Jesus was birthed in a manger. Why a simple dwelling? I believe because God wanted to teach us from a meager beginning a king can be born. The manger gives me hope that the immigrant can become a CEO, the poor can become President, and the unnoticed can be noticed and given honor. It is Jesus that makes the difference in our lives, not where we were born or reared.
As I look at young Mary in my mind’s eye, I realize the definition of faithfulness. She understood that she was to birth the Son of God. Did she understand? We can’t know, but we read how she followed the admonition of the angel. She heard and followed. Oh, teach me, Mary, how to be faithful in spite of not knowing the entire plan. Mary, teach me to trust as I gaze at you kneeling beside the Christ child.
Joseph was a saint. The angel that appeared to him said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit…” Can we even wrap our minds around that statement? Imagine following through and do as you were directed? It wasn’t popular or even acceptable to have a baby out of wedlock. Joseph didn’t question, he tried to find a warm place to comfort Mary in her pain. Was he wondering why shepherds and cows were the first ones to see the Son of God? What kind of celebration could they bring? It is through Joseph we learn trust combined with unconditional love. He is the character in the scene that reminds us to not fear but trust regardless of circumstances.
The manger manages many themes and illustrates several truths. The most significant one is God loved us so much that He sent his only begotten son to earth to teach us pure love. All He asks is that we return that love. Let’s make this the holiday season and New Year filled with returned love.