She … placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
We can hardly go through a Christmas season without a reminder that Jesus was born in less than ideal circumstances. Christmas cards often have scenes of a stable filled with animals, while Mary and Joseph look lovingly into a manger, where the baby Jesus is lying.
While many portrayals of this scene aim for a warm, sweet, nostalgic approach, the birth of Jesus was far from a pleasant experience. Forced to travel to Bethlehem for a Roman census, Mary and Joseph found no comfortable place to stay. So Mary gave birth in a cold, dirty stable and used the animals’ feedbox for Jesus’ crib.
What irony! No room was available here for the Savior who came to prepare a place for us in heaven (John 14:2-3).
Everyday life has its ironies too. For example, people were created to live in community and enjoy each other’s friendship. The havoc that sin has wreaked in this world often breaks down that sense of community and friendship, leaving us feeling like there is no place where we can feel at home.
Jesus came to a place that was hostile to the presence of God. But, thankfully, he changed the world. Throughout his entire ministry here, Jesus called people to himself, where those who felt lost, lonely, and unwelcome could find a place where they experienced the warmth of being at home in the presence of the Lord.
Lord Jesus, thank you for coming to our unwelcoming world so that you could welcome us into your presence. Amen.
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