"...laid Him in a manger..." Luke 2:27 (NIV)
From the time of His birth, the world has lacked room for Jesus. Because of Ceasar's decree to count the population, people were instructed to return to their family hometown where there would be fewer challenges to one's identity, thus verifying one's legitimacy as a citizen. Most stayed with relatives, however Joseph must have come from a large family because, by the time they arrived, there was no room for Mary and him... not even in the local inn. The proprietor, though, did show a measure of hospitality and charity by offering the young expecting couple lodging in the stable under the dwelling.
As it happened, Mary came to full term and, in the darkness of that musty barn, delivered the light of the world (John 1:4). She wrapped Him in clothes and made a bassinet from a feeding trough. Isn't it interesting The One Who described Himself as The Bread of the World was placed in a feeding container? (John 6 reveals an interesting proclamation by Jesus on this foundational precept.) The Bible tells us to: "...taste and see that the Lord is good." (Psalm 34:8)
Can you imagine the odors and sounds that surrounded the newborn and His young parents? It was all the back drop God used in His continuing story of connecting His heart to the hearts of people. A stable may not seem like the perfect place for a newborn. However, that one assignment kept the new infant from the touches and breath of curious well-wishers, other children, and those who may be carrying a host of contagious illnesses.
Within the stable were the animals used to transport Joseph and Mary, as well as other possible domesticated creatures:
- Perhaps a young donkey would carry the Savior through the streets of Jerusalem in years to come... as the crowds would proclaim, "Hosanna to the King!" (John 12:13)
- Could there be a covey of doves in the eaves of this stable whose descendants would be directed by the hand of God to land upon the head of Jesus? (Luke 3:22)
- Did the baby hear the bleat of a lamb that was to be prepared for either a feast or to be sacrificially presented for the sins of the family in the Jerusalem temple just five miles away? (John 1:29)
There is no detail given to coincidence in God's script of life, and there is no detail in your life that God does not care about... or know about. He cares for you and has made room in His Kingdom for you (John 14:2), do you have room in your heart for Him? Or have the cares of this world crowded your heart to have no room for Him? Sin separates us from the One Whose light can have no fellowship with darkness. Make room in your heart today for The LIght of the world, and walk in His light (Psalm 119:105).
Pray with your family or friends:
Before you pray, discuss the moment each child or person was born, describing the protection, nurture, and care given in the first years of life. Thank God for how He protected Joseph and Mary and the infant Jesus from the plans of Herod (Matthew 2:1-23). Thank God for His care for your family and you... and for The Bread of the Word that nourishes our spiritually hungry souls.