A Manger Repurposed
As followers of Christ, when we rehearse the Christmas story, we can hear a bit of ourselves in all of its parts. Like the shepherds, we also come and kneel before the Savior. Along with the angels, we proclaim the good news of the Gospel to a longing world. We aim to live lives of strong faith and courage like Mary and Joseph. And we watch, wait and pursue Christ the King with the wise men.
Yet I was struck the other Sunday by the lyrics to the song “Noel” sung by Lauren Daigle...“Come and see what God has done”. And it wasn’t the shepherds or angels or Mary and Joseph, not even the echoes of the prophets that came to mind. Instead, what I pictured was a little wooden manger. Rough around the edges, covered in mud and barn smell and filled with hay. If wood had words, I think we would have heard that meager manger say… “Come and see what God has done!”
The manger was just a simple, dirty, grungy feeding trough. But when God was placed in its center it was no longer just a hay bin, it became a bed for the King of Kings! Instead of feed for animals, it held a miracle. The manger became a stage for the greatest revelation mankind had yet to see. It became the very place of presentation for the long awaited Messiah! The manger become a bearer of the full manifestation of Grace, Truth, Life and Love for the world to see.
And aren’t we also a bit like the manger? We are empty and lifeless until we are filled with Christ. His righteousness, glory and life in us makes us beautiful. Without the Savior in our heart, we are left to the purposes of sin and this world and destined for a hopeless future. When God moves in, He repurposes a soul. As redeemed humanity, we have the highest honor and privilege of no longer living for ourselves, but living for the glory of the King we bear. We join with the manger in singing, “Come and see what God has done!”. It is our lifesong. It is our purpose. The life of Christ in us is our hope of glory. In a world that labels “mangers” as dirty, useless, the lowest of the low, we can hold our heads high. We have been granted by sheer grace the honor of presenting to the world the glory, majesty and love of the King of Kings.
So it’s OK if our hands are dirty and shoes are scuffed up. It’s OK if we’re small, forgotten and spend much of our time in the mundane. God has repurposed our lives for His cause. We belong to Him.
Our job as King bearers is to do our part and hide behind the cross so those around us can see His light, love and truth and be drawn to the glorious grace of the Gospel, Jesus Christ, the Messiah and King.