If you try to point something out to a dog, the dog will often look at your finger instead of that which you are pointing. This can be frustrating, but it illustrates a natural mistake we all make from time to time. It’s the mistake many people make when reading the Christmas story in Luke’s Gospel. What do people know about Jesus’ birth? The manger—the crib, the most famous animal feeding-trough in all of history is what we know and remember. It is on every Christmas card and the focus of every Christmas carol.
Tradition has Joseph and Mary knocking at an inn door, being told there was no room, but could lodge in a stable alongside animals. Actually, in ancient inns the upper floors were for guests while the bottom floor was reserved for animals. Mary and Joseph most likely were on the bottom floor where the animals were kept. The scriptures don’t mention animals but we can assume they were there. But the significance of the manger is not whether animals were present; no, the significance of the manger was to help the shepherds identify where the child being born was located.
Outside of Jesus’s family, the shepherds were the first ones told who Jesus was, the significance of his birth, and where they could find him. Luke 2:12 says, “This will be the sign for you; you’ll find the baby wrapped up, and lying in a feeding-trough (manger).” Odds are they would not have been able to find Jesus without that specific clue. But thankfully they did! One can only guess what their lives were like afterwards—to behold the King of Universe, the One to Redeem All. On this Christmas, imagine you are there with the shepherds witnessing God’s breaking into the world with grace and truth. Merry Christmas!!!
This week’s reading:
Monday – 2 Corinthians 7-10
Tuesday – 2 Corinthians 11-13
Wednesday – Matthew 1-4
Thursday – Matthew 5-7
Friday – Mathew 8-10
Please Pray for:
Ukraine Children—St. Paul’s Winter Mission Trip
Safe travels for all who are traveling this holiday season
For 2018 and all those who will grow in Christ this year
St Paul’s upcoming Marriage Retreat