AWAY IN A MANGER: 0ne of the first Christmas songs we learn – from early childhood and still being sung at Christmas gatherings around the world today….
Away in a Manger, no crib for His bed.
WHY was our LORD born in a manger? You’ll hear many say it was because Mary and Joseph were poor. But that is NOT what the Bible says. In Luke 2:1-7, we read the account of WHY Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem in the first place – to answer the decree from Caesar Augustus ‘to be taxed.’ (yes, even then, there were taxes by the government!)
Verse 7: “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; BECAUSE THERE WAS NO ROOM FOR THEM IN THE INN.” (emphasis added)
Joseph had all intentions of staying in a hotel room. But, alas, they were filled – all out of rooms, so the innkeeper allowed them to stay in the stable. Thus, our LORD and SAVIOR, the KING of Heaven, was born in a stable.
Why might this be important to us today?
If He had come as the KING of earth… if He had made His grand entrance into our world as the ‘conquering hero’… if He had arrived on scene accompanied by myriads of worshipping angelic beings… if, if, if.
How many would have felt intimidated? What about those shepherds who were in the fields keeping watch over their flock by night? (Verse 8)
Would they have felt comfortable visiting the Infant? How many of us would feel comfortable going to Buckingham Palace to see the new Prince or Princess? … maybe just a tad awed, uncomfortable to be ushered into the Grand Hall of the mighty Palace, filled with all the grandeur and treasures of the United Kingdom – gold, untold myriads of jewels and precious stones, statuary larger than life, oil paintings likened to a major art museum, majestic furnishings, servants everywhere. That thought alone would be beyond comprehension for a ‘mere Commoner.’
The LORD of Heaven… the KING of all the earth… He Who came to die for you and me… born in a stable. Everyone… EVERYONE can relate to that. Even the richest of the rich can visualize that scenario. The poorest of the poor can stand in awe of the Christ Child born in a lowly stable.
JESUS’ arrival to this earth, which had been ordained in Heaven before the world (Ephesian 2:7-8: “…But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory….”) was for one purpose and that is: to reconcile all men unto Himself.
Read the first chapter of the Gospel of John. In Verse 14 we read: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
Then, Chapter 3, verses 16-17: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.” (emphasis added)
Willing to leave His Home in Glory – to set aside all the Heavenly splendor and come to earth as the most vulnerable of the vulnerable – an innocent, newborn baby – to be born in a stable – to live a life of LOVE, COMPASSION, DEVOTION, to be crucified on the cruel cross of Calvary – for US! for YOU… for ME! That’s a HALLELUJAH SHOUT!
We cannot sing Away In A Manger… We cannot sing Silent Night, Holy Night… We cannot sing Oh Holy Night… We cannot sing O, Come All Ye Faithful… We cannot sing O, Little Town of Bethlehem or any of the other wondrous Christmas Carols and think that’s all there is to this Day of Celebrating the Birth of our LORD and Savior.
In singing and celebrating His birth, we must also look ahead to His death and celebrate His RESURRECTION! …for we cannot have one without the other! Christmas is not ‘all there is.’ It is only the BEGINNING!
So as we go about our Holiday preparations – to be with family and friends – to reach out with compassion to others – let us always remember that WE ARE HERE FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS – and it is up to US – each of US – to reach out in LOVE – HIS LOVE – to reach the unreached and tell the untold of God’s GREAT LOVE, MERCY AND GRACE.
SING: AWAY IN A MANGER…. and see the Christ Child’s arrival into our midst as our opportunity to escape the judgment of rebellion and to embrace LIFE EVERLASTING – In His presence forevermore!
Share His Story – tell your world that GOD IS LOVE and HE HAS PLANS FOR YOU – PLANS FOR GOOD… (Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. New King James)
The New Testament says it even more emphatically, in Ephesians 2:1-10. Verse 10 says: “for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” New King James
In the Spirit Filled Life Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Jack W. Hayford, Litt.D., General Editor, the Word Wealth listing, (giving us a better understanding of God’s Word), defines the word: “workmanship: poiema From the verb poiema, “to make.”(compare ‘poem’ and ‘poetry.’ The word signifies that which is manufactured, a product, a design produced by an artisan. Poiema emphasizes God as the Master Designer, the universe as His creation (Rom. 1:20), and the redeemed believer as His new creation (Eph. 2:10). Before conversion our lives had no rhyme or reason. Conversion brought us balance, symmetry, and order. We are God’s poem, His work of art.”*
YOU are God’s MASTERPIECE! You were redeemed for EXCELLENCE! Let your LIGHT shine to reflect the LIGHT OF THE WORLD this CHRISTMAS SEASON and throughout the New Year.
HAVE A BLESSED, GLORIOUS CHRISTMAS AND SHARE THE GOOD NEWS OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR’S BIRTH EVERYWHERE!
*Taken from the Spirit Filled Life Bible, edited by Jack W. Hayford, Litt.D., Copyright ©1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. http://www.thomasnelson.com