Luke 2:7 “And she (Mary) brought forth her firstborn son (Jesus), and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Although we have glamorized the manger scene, the manger mentioned in Luke 2:7 was simply, “a crib for fodder or food.”
There are many things we should consider concerning the birth of Christ and the manger in which He was laid. The Lord chose to allow His Son to be born in such a way for many reasons.
(1) To Demonstrate His Humility — The manger was a place of feeding for the animals.
(2) To Exhibit His Accessibility — All the food the animals needed was daily provided in the manger.
(3) To Indicate His Sacrifice — The greedy appetite of the animals consumed the hay.
The day in which Christ was born was not as we have often imagined it. The fact that there was no room for Jesus, in the inn, should not surprise us. It was simply due to the busyness of the day, that there was no room for Jesus. There is no doubt the people were frantically attempting to find a room for themselves and their families as they traveled in response to the call for a census. All those around just saw Joseph and Mary as another couple seeking a place to stay. They all failed to recognize the significance of the one who was given the manger as shelter. As sad as it is, the same is true today. Men, due to the busyness of life, still fail to recognize the significance of Jesus Christ; therefore, allow no room for Him in their lives.
As strange as it may seem to us that the God of glory would allow His Son to be born and take abode in a manger, it is even more astounding that the same God would allow His Son to take abode in the hearts of men. As we consider the manger, it should remind us of some startling truths concerning our hearts.
First, the manger was filthy!
The animals would gather at the manger and there they would eat. The scraps from yesterday’s feeding would be left behind along with the saliva from the animals. Just as the manger, the heart of man is also filthy.
- Ecclesiastes 9:3 “This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.”
- Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
- Mark 7:21 “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,”
The filth of the manger cannot begin to compare with the filthiness of the hearts of men, yet He still chooses to take His abode within man.
Second, the manger was undeserving!
The birth of the Savior of the world deserved much better than that of the manger. The palaces of the day, not to mention the manger, were not worthy to hold such a gift from heaven. We, as the manger, are not fit to hold such a treasure as the Lord Jesus Christ. The manger was only the beginning; for since the day of the manger the Lord Jesus has taken up His dwelling within the hearts of sinful men.
- Titus 3:3-5 “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
- EPHESIANS 2:1-10
We are not worthy of His Person, Presence or Power.
Third, the manger was never the same!
It has been over 2,000 years since the birth of our Savior; yet, all around the world, we see manger scenes in remembrance of the Savior’s birth. Even though that manger has long since rotted and decayed, it has never been forgotten. The manger itself had no significance, but once the Lord Jesus was placed inside it, it was changed forever.
- II Corinthians 4:6&7 “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
- II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Although the manger seems so unfit to hold the King – even it is more fit than the hearts of men. There is nothing good about us, and were it not for the grace of God we would merely live our lives in this world and die without anything of any eternal significance taking place in our lives; but, God has chosen to redeem us by His grace and now our lives will never be the same.
I Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am:” There are no merits we can claim, for we were filthy and unworthy vessels; yet, by God’s Grace we have received the greatest treasure the world has ever known – the Lord Jesus Christ.
Because of this gift of Grace, which has been deposited into our hearts, we will never be the same!
The world did not recognize the significance of what took place that day in Bethlehem, and just as then, the world today does not understand the significance of what has taken place in the lives of those in whom the Savior has taken His abode. Yet, nonetheless, throughout all eternity we will enjoy the benefits of what He has done and we will forever proclaim, “Glory to God in the Highest!”
May we all remember the Christ of Christmas!