December 21, 2007

A Crib for the Christ

Luke 2:1-7

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger ...
Luke 2:7


I've heard sermons that challenged me with the question of whether I have more room in my heart for Jesus than the couple who kept the Bethlehem inn. But Scripture never even mentions an innkeeping husband and wife. Frankly, I suspect that the offer of the stable was born not of callousness but of kindness. Perhaps the innkeeper thought that putting a pregnant woman in his barn was better than leaving her to give birth somewhere outside.

Luke doesn't mention an innkeeper or even a stable. But he does mention a manger-three times (Luke 2:7, 12, 16). The manger matters. Why?

The key is found in Isaiah 1:3: "The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner's manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand." Isaiah complained that God's people were less aware of their true owner than farm animals who recognized the farmer as he came to pile hay in their manger for their next meal.

But Israel's ignorance was about to change. At the birth of Christ, shepherds came and discovered the true manger of their Lord. They gathered before the one who was the true bread from heaven-the one who would feed all who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Do you have a deep soul hunger today? Have you come to the manger, where your hunger can be met?

Lord, we have hungers that our own efforts cannot satisfy. Who can feed us but Christ? In worship, may we find our deepest aches and hungers met. In Jesus' name, Amen.

About the author — Bob Heerspink

Dr. Robert Heerspink was director of Back to God Ministries International from 2006 until 2011, when he passed away. He had previously pastored several Christian Reformed churches. Bob loved to write and was a frequent contributor to the Today devotional.

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