I you asked be a dozen year ago what a manger was for I’d say, “For baby Jesus.”
And Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem not just to have their census taken so they could pay taxes to the Romans, but so that baby Jesus could be born in a stable.
And of course it was a silent night ’cause that’s what the song says even though all the inn’s were full and people were wandering the streets looking for a place to sleep and many didn’t even want to be away from home and in this obscure town.
Oh, and the shepherd … they were used to seeing angels appear and going down to see their Messiah sleeping in a stable ’cause isn’t that what they did every Christmas?
Yeah, if your Christmas feels less than perfect know your not alone.
From a human perspective, the first Christmas was imperfect and filled with unexpected detours and interruptions. I wonder what Mary thought of traveling away from her family and the town where she’d been the center of gossip and then giving birth to the Son of God in a cold stable with the animals. And then the King of king’s first visitors where the socially inferior shepherds …
It’s like majesty and mundane are swirled together.
It’s like God wanted to tell us that He was willing to immerse Himself in our mess from the very beginning to show us how His kingdom works. to show us His unexpected, undeserved love. to show us He understands our weakness.
There was a purpose behind the “imperfections” and unexpectedness. There is purpose behind the imperfections and unexpectedness.
Immanuel. God came down here with us because we couldn’t reach up toward Him. He came down to draw us near to God. To rock our dreams and change our world. To show us the One worthy of our trust. To show us that we can let go of the anger and worry and be still. To show us that God will act at the perfect time in the perfect way.
The majesty is swirled in with the mundane this Christmas. God’s perfect plan works through all this imperfection. Because of Immanuel we can be still …
and have a merry Christmas.