Wednesday, December 2, 2009

An Empty Manger...

I wrote this post originally 2 Christmases ago, but I think it bears repeating. For what it's worth, I do have a Jesus in my manger, but it's really the mental concept of leaving Him there that I am driving at...

Okay, I am sure the title of this entry may not make any sense to you, but bear with me!

Have you ever wondered why so many people can accept the reality of Jesus being born, but never see their need for Him as their Saviour? I have been pondering this lately and the Lord, I believe, showed me one possible reason why...
Some people have never taken Jesus out of the manger!!!

Think with me for a minute...Even with the attempts of some to remove Jesus from Christmas all together, there is still ample opportunity to see a manger scene in stores, in front of churches and in many of our homes. We, ourselves, have one out front of the house and at least 5 or 6 displayed inside ~ some all year round. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it gives the illusion to some that Jesus was merely a baby who was born amidst much hoopla. End of the story!
The reality of his birth is not hard for them to grasp, but they stop short of acknowledging that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and favour with God and man. They can't accept the crucifixion and they certainly don't want to mentally entertain the thought of the resurrection. Why you may ask?

Well, as long as Jesus is tucked safely away in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger He is no threat to them and the "safe" little world they have created for themselves. To allow Him to grow up, suffer unimaginably and then raise Himself from the dead requires something from us! It requires us to search our hearts and come to some tough conclusions...either Jesus is Who He says He is or He made the whole thing up!

When our children have a birthday we have a lot of fun remembering their birth stories and laughing about how each one made their grand entrance into our world. We don't stop there, though. We also celebrate who each child has become and what they mean to each of us now! We don't just look at pictures of them as a newborn, sing them a song and then go on with our lives until the next year when we pull out the birth pictures again! To do that would be to deny the reality of who they have become to us and how our lives have been forever changed because of the privilege of sharing this journey with them.

So let me challenge you as you celebrate the birthday of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Enjoy those mangers and, by all means, remember how God came to earth wrapped in flesh, but once the 26th of December rolls around ~ put Baby Jesus away. Let others see an empty animal trough and ask you what happened to Jesus! It may just be the opportunity you've been looking for to share the hope we have in Christ! Share the rest of the story! Not only is that manger empty , but that tomb they placed His tortured body in is, too!

My life has forever been changed because of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! If yours has, too, then join with me in letting others know that our mangers are empty and we serve a resurrected Lord!

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