Manger: It’s Still News!
Rev. Betty Brewer-Calvert
She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.
Luke 2:7 CEB
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger – a manger, the feed trough for the animals! Certainly not where you would expect to find the Messiah! Undoubtedly not where Mary expected to lay her baby to rest his head. Perhaps she smiled in wonder at the unexpectedness of it all – the surprise of carrying the Holy Child, the blessings that came from visiting her much older cousin Elizabeth who was also pregnant, the faithfulness of Joseph despite the unorthodox events, and now the delivery in a stable far from home. There was nothing usual in any of it!
The humble birth of the Christ Child reminds us that God comes to us in unusual places, in unlikely people, and at unexpected times. Jesus was born into a world where the powerful sought to kill anyone who might challenge the status quo, where the chasm between rich and poor was deep, and where many longed for a Savior. Centuries later, Christmas still comes in the midst of chaos; and some might ask, why celebrate? We celebrate because God enters into our brokenness with a sign of hope. God responds to the world’s ills with the gift of love, made real to us in the birth of a child. The news of great joy given to the shepherds – a babe, God’s son, born and to be found lying in a manger – is still news. It is life-transforming news. Will we hear? Will we believe? Will we share?
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Surprising God, thank you for the many ways you break into our lives – shining light in our darkness and hope in our despair. Help us to celebrate and share the gift of your love. Amen.
Betty is Director of Women’s Ministries for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia (www.gadisciples.org). She is active at Decatur First Christian Church, where her husband, James, is pastor. They are the parents of two young adults, a black lab, and two cats. Betty attended Union Theological Seminary in NYC and will celebrate the 30th anniversary of her ordination next summer. She enjoys leading retreats and workshops. Other activities include: Atlanta’s Alliance Children’s Theatre Guild, book club, church choir, Spanish language learning, silly computer games, and occasional guitar playing. Life is full!
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