Away in a Manger

By Paul Snyder

“This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:12

As children we are introduced to the Christ of Christmas. Like all of us, He entered this world as a helpless baby—needy and dependent. What’s more, the King of kings did not come into the grand surroundings the world would have expected. Hidden from Herod in a stable, this newborn King would be marked by the humility and meekness resident in His Father’s nature. “This will be a sign for you…” the Baby in the manger—seemingly so insignificant among the cows, and wrapped in swaddling clothes to stay warm—that’s the Son of God.

Often we do not recognize the Lord because, like most of Israel, we are looking for Him to come in the garb of our own desires. Surely the King of the Jews would have come to Jerusalem in the stateliness of a majestic processional with chariots, pageantry and the most impressive army ever to be seen. But He came on a donkey and did not resist the earthly powers. Even His own disciples ran away when the Miracle Worker did not work the miracles they had come to want and expect.

The miracle of Christmas is neither glitzy nor glamorous. It is simply that Immanuel came down to earth to be with us…to bring us down to earth…to restore true glory to earthen vessels.

And so the manger—the feeding trough—reveals His meek and lowly nature to us. But it sends another message as well, that this humble King is Bread for the world: “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever…” (John 6:51).

Our prayer for you this season is that you would behold—even adore—the Babe of Christmas; that you would feast on Him in worship and discover this treasure in earthen vessels—Christ Himself—the greatest gift. We pray that you would come to identify with Him in the feelings that we all have of being needy, dependent and even insignificant, but that these feelings would inspire worship, faith and trust in our hearts toward our almighty Father.

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