must not measure greatness from the mansion down but
from the manger up." -- Jesse
nativity scenes violate the significance of that first
sits smiling -- no evidence of labor; no strain
etched on her face; serene, not exhausted. And Joseph
stands humbly by as wise men present gifts to a silent
and well-behaved baby. Even the animals could audition
for Charlotte's Web -- all attentive to the wondrous
moment. The entire scene is sanitized and orderly ... and
original manger scene would shock our sensibilities.
Mangers were messy. Barns (or caves) couldn't be kept
clean, let alone sterile. Animals do what animals do.
And human birth is hardly a ticket to the ballet.
chose this delivery room for His Son?
does it say about a God who can't - or won't - organize
something more secure, more classy, more splendid? His
Son deserved the best. This birth began a quest. Could
it not have started in a warm, safe place with family
and friends to support and celebrate? Why would we
choose such a hazardous entrance into the
manger provides the greatest object lesson before the
Cross. It speaks softly but decisively to any of us
with ears to hear.
continues to be born in the manger of our hearts,
without reservation. The Savior does not look for the
safe, the sanitary, the sheltered, or the secure. He
does not avoid the putrid, the decadent, or the
distasteful. Our mess -- our "stuff"
-- cannot hinder His
news! No condition whatsoever can hamper the coming of
Christ, if we'll but make the space available to Him.
While we may want to dust and scrub, shovel and
deodorize, wash and freshen up the manger of our hearts,
He needs only the nod to
does that first manger -- rough and raw as it was -- say
about God? Everything we need to know. He comes to the
hurt and the helpless, the harrowed and the homeless,
the disheveled and downtrodden. Nothing can stop Him
Christmas, may the sweet nativities prompt us to rejoice
in the Christ of "our manger" and may He come again to
you. O come, O come,