Don’t miss the manger!

It’s Christmas morning!  

This brings different traditions for almost every household across the world.  Generally, our family has french toast for breakfast, opens gifts, attends an afternoon movie and eats Chinese food for dinner.

We tend to take a very casual approach to Christmas because the day should be more focused on the process taking place inside our lives than the accumulation of possession in our home.  If Jesus did not view us through the eyes of love and affection, a manger would not be significant.

If there is no manger, there is no shepherd and no nativity scene.  Essentially, there would be no reason for Christmas.  Yet, year after year, more Americans seems to miss it.  We head out on Thanksgiving night for a month of impulse shopping with no way to pay for it.  We try so hard to find the right “obligation gift” that we miss the manger.

I think lots of people throughout the centuries of time have missed the manger.  The Jews missed the manger.  The High Priest only understood on the day of Jesus’ circumcision.  The multitudes of Jesus’ day missed the manger even though the Old Testament told them to look for it.

The manger is one of those “rock bottom” moments that no person wants.  The manger is the catalyst that changes our thinking.  The manger is the beginning of our journey.  The manger allows us to get to Easter.  The manger allows our walk to thrive.  The manger is where it all begins.

I encourage you on this day to focus on the manger.  Enjoy the gifts that your loved ones have given you, but focus on the manger.

Luke 2:1-21

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be registered, each to his own town.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,  to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.