M is for Manger
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
One of my favorite Christmas books (and plays) is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson. It’s the story of these mean kids named Herdman and their take over of the Christmas play at their local church, when they hear about food being “given away” in Sunday School.
There is one particular scene in which the Herdman children learn about the birth of Jesus for the very first time. When Imogene Herdman learns that Jesus was wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger, she says, “You mean they tied him up and put him in a feedbox? Where was the child welfare?” She is filled with horror and shock that they would put a king into a feeding trough for animals. Why didn’t somebody do something about this?
Many of us have heard the story of the birth of Jesus so often we forget the great humiliation it was for the Son of God to be born with the animals. We forget the great humility expressed by Jesus in becoming a man, a baby, born into a poor, insignificant family. It should shock us and amaze us that this is the path that God chose for his Son. It should shock and amaze us that this plan gave greater glory to God. And it should humble us as well, because his humbling was because of our sins, and our sins were forgiven through his humbling life, death, resurrection, and ascension. The King of Kings was born in a feedbox!