Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thank You for the Manger

In anticipation of Christmas, I'm revisiting a series of guest posts that I wrote last year for Tommy Nelson. Our family wishes yours a very blessed Christmas season . . .

Thank You for the manger,
A bed made out of hay.
And thank You for the cows and sheep
That shared their food that day!

Thank You for the manger,
Your precious Christmas gift.

The manger is ranked even lower than the donkey in the Christmas story. At least the donkey has the role of  an "extra." The manger is merely a prop, a place to lay the Baby Jesus.

But I’m a firm believer that our God is a God of significance. With Him there are no accidents, no coincidences. And I believe that the manger was chosen to further His message of humility and sacrifice.

First, obviously, the King of Kings wasn’t born in a palace, on a throne, or even wrapped in a royal robe. Nope, God didn't need our earthly concepts of royalty to crown His King. He chose one of the lowliest places—not even a dirt-floored human home, but a stable for animals—as the first home for His Son, the Savior of the world.

Second, Jesus’s very first accommodations relied on the kindness of strangers. There was no room in the inn, but they were allowed to seek shelter in the stable. And there was no bed, but I can just see the cows and sheep patiently standing by as a little baby was placed on top of their fresh food for the night. Perhaps this is our first hint that having Jesus in our lives is going to require a little earthly sacrifice.

So, let's say thank You, even for the little prop of a manger. Thank You, God, for reminding us that Your ways are not our ways. That Your idea of royalty is not the same as ours. And that in your kingdom, the least can and will become the greatest. Thank You for the knowledge that when we sacrifice our earthly comforts, our heavenly rewards are far greater that we could ever imagine.

Who is a “least of these” that you may have overlooked? What can you sacrifice, what can you give, in Jesus’s name today?

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