At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. (Luke 2:1-7)
Do you have a manger scene set up at your house?
I like manger scenes. But they remind of a problem in the church today, my friend Scott calls it manger danger.
Our mangers are in the basement, the attic, or the closet, 11 months out of the year. Then we bring them out sometime in November or early December, as we decorate our house for Christmas.
That’s what some people do with Jesus. They bring Him out only on certain days of the year or seasons of their life, or when they need Him.
But most of the time, he’s in a box, with a couple camels and some wise men, He’s locked away where he has no influence, where he can’t see what’s on your TV, where he can’t hear the way you talk to your family, and where he can’t help you solve any problems.
It’s manger danger.
In reality, though, Jesus is not in a manger.
You see, Mary and Joseph only had him in that manger probably, what, a couple weeks or so?
But eventually, he grew up, he got his own bed, he learned to read, grew out of his little boy clothes, and he became he man.
Eventually, He died on the cross for your sin.
And he stands ready to help you, to heal your brokenness, to forgive your sin.
But he’s a gentleman. He’s not going to force his way out of the Christmas decoration box, breaking all the bulbs and climbing the fake tree to find you. He’s going to wait for you to ask. He’s going to wait for you to invite him.
For you, for me, all it takes is a prayer and a little bit of faith. Ask him today to help you. He loves you.
Set up your manger scene, have a Christ centred Christmas. but come January, as you take down the tree, and put away the decorations, maybe, just maybe you leave the manger scene set up all year. If not in actuality, don’t put the real Jesus away.
Let Him shine through your life, every day.