They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished… – Luke 2
Today’s Advent focus is “Manger”.
We have probably thirty or more manger scenes around our home. It can be a fun party game to see who is able to find the most. They are not all up yet but today’s post offers a sampling.
Why? Because without the newborn child in the manger there is no Christmas.
This evening our church hosts the first of a three night experience where we invite people to go on a guided, “Walk Through Bethlehem.” Again, the manger is the entire point. People on the tour meet prophets, angels, more angels, townspeople, shepherds, Roman soldiers, King Herod, magi, the innkeeper and his wife, busy marketplaces, and so much more. But it is the infant child in the manger who brings the experience together and makes the long arduous journey worthwhile.
There is no other story:
There is no other story. There is no other God. There is no-one but Jesus.
Sure, If you are not “Christian” I respect and honor your religious tradition, and I understand it comes from an authentic yearning to make a meaningful connection with God. But, be it now or in the life to come, one day we will all know who Jesus is. Today, Jesus is the absolute best opportunity any one of us has to find our way home again. It is a simple equation – we simply say “thank you”, and trust – as the hymn puts it – “In his redeeming grace.”
The beauty of the manger is this: Jesus first places his life in the hands of Mary and Joseph. The whole plan rests on vulnerability and the necessity of complete trust. If God is willing to place such a tender life in a humble and precarious position, how much more can we place ourselves in the care of authentic love?