Why a Manger?

December 21, 2016

Have you ever been denied? Been given the proverbial hand? Rejected? Get that stuff outta here!?

Minor rejections happen all the time. They happened to me on the basketball and volleyball courts more times than I can count. I was blocked hard!

They happened to me a few times when I tried to get into parties in my college days. I was not on the guest list. In my Hollywood summer of 1991, I couldn’t get into certain clubs because I was a nobody. No celebrity status here.

Of course, in the larger scheme of things those are no big deal.

But imagine (or remember) being rejected because of your race or your class status. You don’t have the right color of skin, therefore, you are not welcome. Or you are too poor. You live on the streets or in your car, and we want nothing to do with you. Those rejections cut much deeper.

It was that type of rejection that Jesus experienced. His parents were nobodies to those in Bethlehem and they were rejected at the Inn. Their lack of finances kept a certain level of accommodations out of reach.

Luke 2:7 And she (Mary) gave birth to her firstborn son (Jesus) and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

She laid him in a manger.

A manger was a feed trough, usually hewn out of stone. It was built for animals. It was something typically kept on the lowest floor of a home, where the animals were given shelter and fed.

The fact that Jesus was laid in a manger opened up access for a whole new group of people. People who would have otherwise never been granted access. People who were used to rejection and closed doors. The poorest of the poor. The ones with the smallest of means.

The shepherd class. The ones familiar with mangers. And Jesus meets them on their turf.

8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.

Three times the fact of the manger is repeated. Luke, the Gospel writer, doesn’t want us to miss this. It is a manger and it is to be “a sign”.

It is a sign of the Lord’s humility.

If Jesus, the King of all Kings, was born in a palace where other princes are born, do you think shepherds would have been able to see to Him? Of course not! They would have been barred at the gate by soldiers with weapons.

Perhaps the most amazing, mind-blowing attribute of Christ is reflected in the account of the manger. It is that Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God and Creator of the Universe, is humble. He lowers himself to accommodate us. While there was no room at the Inn for him, He makes sure there is room at his manger-crib for us. All of us.

This humility and love for the least of us isn’t the least of reasons why we worship Him. It might be the first.

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