Summary: One of the most puzzling facts of Christmas is that God, when He came to earth & took upon Himself human form, was born in a stable. Why? Were there not more appropriate places for the Son of God?
THE MYSTERY OF THE MANGER
A SOLUTION FOR THE STABLE
LUKE 2: 1-7
Seven year old Johnny yelled “Daddy, guess what’s missing?” The front lawn rang with excitement as the family put the life-size manger scene in place.
“What?” his father asked while he finished fastening Joseph to a stake for support.
“It’s baby Jesus,” Johnny replied, twisting his face into a frown. “Daddy, if we can’t find Jesus, there’s no need for us to put up the manger scene at all.”
Seven year old Johnny is right. If we cannot include Jesus in our Christmas, then there is no reason to celebrate Christmas at all.
What does Christmas mean to you? What does this Christmas mean to you? Is it a season to fill your life with more worldly things? A time to be filled with all the desirables this life offers? What did Christmas mean to Him who brought the celebration about? Christmas initially meant "no vacancy" to Jesus and His family.
We can learn a lot by listening to children. A little girl was helping her mother unpack the NATIVITY SET and set it up. As she unpacked each of the pieces she said, “Here’s Mary and Joseph.” When she got the figurine of Jesus in the manger she said, “And here’s the baby Jesus in His car seat.” In today’s antiseptic world we may not clearly understand what a stable and manger were.
One of the most puzzling facts of Christmas is that God, when He came to earth and took upon Himself human form, was born in a stable. Why? As Prince of Peace He could have chosen a palace, but He didn’t. Let us look into the mystery of the manger and find a solution for the stable.
Stables and mangers are filthy places. They are places for farm animals, not humans and especially not babes. Mary and Joseph might have cleaned out the remaining messes deposited by the previous occupants of the barn, but still the foul odor and earthiness would have clung to the place.
I. MY HEART
Yet, one time I wondered something very similar concerning Jesus and me. When Christ Jesus was knocking at the door of my heart, I wondered why would God desire to come live in me? The heart of an unsaved person, the prophet Jeremiah says, "is deceitful above all things" (17:9). At first that word of truth seems unpalatable. It is not too tasty a morsel but we have to digest it. Yes, it is the same picture Jesus painted of the unsaved person’s heart.
Jesus says in Matthew 15:16-20, “Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? (17) “Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? (18) “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. (19) “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. (20) “These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” (NAS)
No matter how we try to clothe or perfume the fact or even clean up our act, it can not be disguised. The human heart still has a foul odor clinging to it.