And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
Here we are, days away from celebrating the birth of Jesus, and I would ask you a question.
Where is your focus? What fills your mind each day as we inch one day closer to Christmas?
In a time where society and the media bombards us with the latest trends, the most popular gift ideas, and how to keep up with the status qou of the season, I am afraid that most of us lose sight of the real meaning behind this holiday. We think of it from time to time, in between the list making, the present shopping, the gift wrapping, and meal planning. Our intentions are good, but the busyness of the season usually drains all spare time and sanity we have left.
Let us not forget the simplicity of the first Christmas. I believe the "how" in Jesus came to earth can speak volumes to our lives if we let it. He could have been born into a wealthy, well known family. But he chose Mary and Joseph, who were humble and obedient, just common folk to most in that day. Instead of a fancy palace with a plush bed for a newborn babe, he chose a manger. A hard bin or trough like structure used for feeding or watering livestock back then. The environment wasn't quiet, sterile or dare I say welcoming for your first born to be. Some of the first to be told of his birth was not the highest officials so they could proclaim it across the land, but the lowly shepherds just watching over their flock. What a sight they got to see that night when a host of angels appeared and proclaimed Jesus's birth!
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased." Luke 2:8-14
Jesus came for ALL. The poor and the wealthy. The young and the old. The strong and the weak. No one is excluded, but you do have a choice. Will you turn him away this Christmas or will you invite him in? He doesn’t care about the size of your house, the brand of your clothing, or how much money you have in the bank. He doesn’t care what bad choices your past may hold. He simply wants you and not a piece of you, but your whole heart. If you are like me, 2022 has been filled with struggles. It has gotten weary and burdensome at times, but knowing I have God has been enough to get me through. He is my rock, my savior, and my friend. He is my peace and my hope. He has always made a way, when all I could see was a dead end. When my world gets dark, He is the light that guides me.
I hope this Christmas, we can all keep our mind on the manger and the precious gift it once held. Don’t let the chaos of the season cause you to forget the greatest gift that was given. Jesus. It is a gift that will last for all of eternity.