November 30 (Advent, Day 3): A Messy Manger

November 30 (Advent, Day 3): A Messy Manger

Picture of Chris Rowekamp

Chris Rowekamp

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger . . . ”
—Luke 2:7 ESV


When we look at a Nativity scene or sing the song “Silent Night,” it’s easy to imagine a peaceful setting. Animals bowed in reverence before the newborn Christ; shepherds leaning on their crooks surrounded by quiet sheep.

The reality is that a stable is not a silent or peaceful place. It smells bad and the noise of whinnying, braying, clucking, snorting and mooing is enough to disrupt anyone’s peace and quiet.

The manger Jesus was laid in, a feeding trough for animals, was probably not very clean either.

All being told, it was a very less-than-ideal birthplace for a king.

And yet, for that night, God made his home in that place.

The Imperfect Nativity teaches us this: we don’t have to have it all together for God to make his home in us.

What made the manger holy was not its perfection but the Messiah who was in it.

Today, just open the door. Jesus will gladly enter and make his home with you.

Carry this simple prayer with you today:

Breathe in: God of the dirty manger,
Breathe out: Make your home in me.

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