The Humility of The Manger

Smelly. Dirty. Ugly. Farms, in theory, seem nice, but if you have ever been to a real, working farm, you will know that the idea of fresh country air and beautiful majestic creatures meandering about large open fields is a pretense. Farms are places of function, not appearance. Mud, dung, and smelly animals are a much more accurate description of a farm, especially one in ancient Rome. This is the scene Jesus was born into, not a quaint little manger where the animals realized the significance of the young Savior’s birth. It was a pen where animals lived, ate, and pooped as they pleased! The nativity scene we have painted in our minds is not the reality of the birthplace of the Messiah. Jesus was born into a life of hardship from the very beginning. The carol Away in a Manger is a very inaccurate description of the scene it is trying to portray.

Away in a manger
No crib for His bed,
The little Lord Jesus
Lay down His sweet head.

The stars in the sky
Look down where He lay;
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing,
The poor Baby wakes,
But little Lord Jesus,
No crying He makes.”

Alright guys, have you ever spent more than ten minutes with a baby? Does the prospect of a new-born baby not crying, despite the baby being in the cold and stink of a stall filled with sheep, sound reasonable? Absolutely not. Babies cry.  Human babies cry naturally, and Jesus was a human baby! We so often, especially at this time of year, allow our perception of Jesus to become more twisted and corrupted than we would care to admit. The reason salvation works is because Jesus was like us while he committed no sin. Jesus was one hundred percent human. He hurt. He cried. He wept at the death of Lazarus, but somehow as children, we sing that he simply slept silently?

“I love Thee, Lord Jesus,
Look down from the sky
And stay by my side
‘Til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me, I pray.

Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care,
And take us to Heaven
To live with Thee there.

How amazing is it to know that we do not have to ask God to look down on us and be with us? How amazing to know that God is omnipresent – literally in all places, all the time! God truly does love us. He has given us a gift, which is salvation! We have sinned, done wrong of some sort or another, but God sent His Son to live and die as a human for us. That is what we are celebrating here – the humility of the gospel; the humility of the manger.

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