Modern Nativity: Manger
While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. 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.
Born in a barn? Maybe not. “Guestroom” - that’s a much better translation than the older English versions that say “inn.” The Greek word is kataluma and it is used only once more in the Bible, when Jesus refers to an “upper room” where he will celebrate the Last Supper. Maybe we have missed the beauty of this moment by thinking of Mary and Joseph being desperate and alone on this wonderful
night. Jewish culture was big on hospitality. Would an innkeeper turn out a highly pregnant woman?
Wouldn’t another guest give up his room and sleep on a cot?
Perhaps there is a better way to read the story: Mary and Joseph arrive at his family’s hometown. They’re going to stay at a cousin’s house, or an aunt’s. But others are already occupying the upstairs guestroom (and besides, a highly pregnant woman doesn’t need to be climbing outside stairs up to the rooftop room), so Mary is brought into the main living quarter which, yes, did in fact include a manger for the animals to eat from on cold nights. And so, Jesus is born surrounded by love - by caring women helping bring him into this world - and not in some back alley stable.
Where is Christ born among us today? When we show care for others; when we bring them into our homes, our lives, and wrap them in love.
For further reading:
Almighty God, open my eyes to those around me who need love in action. Help me to share my life and my home with them, and may Christ be born among us as I do this in His name.
Kenneth Myers was born in 1959 in Denison, Texas. After 38 years of pastoral ministry (as a pastor, priest, and bishop) he created Graceworks Teaching Minister in 2014 and now spends his time writing books and traveling
throughout the U.S. leading seminars based on his writings. His newest book, Look at Us, tells the story of his romance and love affair with his late wife. More details about Ken including contact information can be found at www.kennethmyers.net.