Discover the Manger Again

LifeLink Devotional

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Luke 2:1-7 1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  3And everyone went to his own town to register. 4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

It was the busiest travel day of the year. Everyone was returning to his or her hometown. People were clamoring for a place to stay and something to eat.  People’s houses were filled to capacity. They had come to fulfill a government requirement. If only they had known what was about to happen. Would it have made a difference? Would they have stepped aside and sacrificed a space for the soon to be born King? Would they have stopped complaining about the inconvenience of the trip and started praising God as they saw the glory of God shining in the sky as His birth is announced? Might they have been more concerned about the Lamb of God than a slice of leg of lamb?

Let’s look at another scene in another time. It was the busiest travel weekend of the year. Everyone was returning to his or her hometown. They had come to fulfill a government tradition of turkey and stuffing, football and pumpkin pie. They were willing to camp out on the floor of the home so that everyone could be together. They spent the evening with all the advertising flyers from the local department stores, planning a strategy to purchase all of the gifts being offered at incredible prices but at ridiculous times. They rose early the next morning to see the stores well lighted with the colors and glitter of the season. They shove their way into a line hoping that the item they want to buy is not sold out before they get to it. People’s smiles quickly turn to sneers as they complain that they didn’t get what they wanted, as if life depended on that item. There is no more recognition of the pretty decorations or the shining lights. There is only the frustrated attempt to get to the next store and the next line to get a gift that will fulfill life for someone.

After 2000 years, things haven’t changed: there still seems to be no room for Jesus. He is given the place of lowest regard and seen as an intruder into the holiday originally instituted to be a holy day celebrating His birth. Any reference to Christ or depiction of His birth is eliminated from public display. Politically correct terms must be used to not offend non-believers. Personal pursuits, family traditions, social pressure and inconvenience have relegated Jesus to another manger because the rooms of our lives are filled.

If only we would stop and look outside of our boxes: if we could just catch a glimpse of the sky again. We haven’t been able to see it for a while because of the cities and skyscrapers we have built – cities of social and cultural acceptance designed with skyscrapers of possessions, prestige, relationships, recreation, and more. Every time we look up, we see what we have done. But there, in the sky, outside the city, where there is only what God has built, the angel still announces good news of great joy for all people. The glory of God is still appearing and proclaiming to all who will listen, “Peace on Earth.”

We may not be able to see it because we’ve not been willing to get outside of the city we have built around us. But when we do, we will discover a place of humility. We must step outside of the comfort of our homes, businesses, and relationships, and discover that in the lowly place of personal sacrifice a King has been born, and He will change our lives.

Maybe it’s time to make room for Jesus in your skyscrapers.

Pastor John

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