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Advent Season -2012 The Significance of the Manger

Scripture Thought for the Week: When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Lets go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about. So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in a manger. Luke 2:15-16

Believe it or not, the above picture is a photograph of a manger that possibly resembled the one that our Lord Jesus was placed in after his birth. Although our nativity scenes have the manger portrayed from different materials, it would be reasonable to assume the manger the Christ Child used was one made from clay and mixed with straw or stones held together with mud. After all, a manger was a feeding trough for animals kept in the stables. After researching the actual meaning of the word, it appears that this photograph was taken in Megiddo where this manger was used in the stables of King Ahab.

(The photograph and information was recorded by David Padfield in an article entitled, Away in a Manger.) As I looked at the photograph of this manger, I

thought about this newborn infant being wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in this feeding trough. The manger looks to be cold and hard and brought to mind the stark realization that babies enter a world that is cold and hard. And this

particular baby, the Son of the Most High God, has quite a difficult road to travel for the next thirty-three years. Research notes that the Greek word for manger explains it is the ledge or projection in the end of the room used as a stall on

which the hay or other food of the animals of travelers was placed.

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I wrote about the significance of the bread? The Bread of Heaven, Jesus Christ, is our essential provision. Just as the body cannot exist without the staple of bread, so the spiritual soul cannot exist without the Bread of Heaven. There is a great significance in the birth of Jesus in a lowly stable and His placement in a stone, cold manger. He is the Breath of Heaven, the Bread of Life which has come into the world to feed our hungry spiritual souls and breathe new life into our lost world. He has called all persons from various backgrounds, color, creeds, etc., to surround Him on this momentous occasion to celebrate His coming as a baby. By a stunning star that lit up the entire sky, the Light of the World garnered attention and drew men to Himself from shepherds to wise men and all that would hear the message down through the ages. Even today, Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks for entrance. He will not force Himself into your life, but choosing Him is everlasting. Dear friends, please call on the name of the one who can save you from eternal darkness and revive your soul. For the Bible plainly promises, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9 As we draw closer to the actual celebration of the birth of Jesus, may attention be placed on our spiritual gain rather than on our material gathering of goods. May we show forth our benevolence to those who are hurting, hungry and in need of a friend during the coming weeks and extended into the New Year. And may we remember and pray for all the families that lost loved ones this past week in Newtown, CT. God, grant them peace.

Lord, thank you for the opportunity once again to reflect on Your birth. When babies are born today we shower them with the best life has to offer and money can buy so that they can be laid in warm, soft, beautiful surroundings of comfort. Father, as I view this picture of a possible bed where you spent your first hours after entering into this human world, I realize fully You did not come to be comforted, but to comfort. Your purpose has always been to seek and to save the lost. Being born as a baby was only the beginning of that human journey that led to a horrible death on a cross. Lord, as we remember your birth in the coming weeks, help us to remember to thank you each time we view a nativity scene or hear a Christmas carol sung or see the beautiful twinkling lights that bring warm memories and light into our homes. Father, please be with all those moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandmas,

grandpas, husbands and loved ones that are in the depths of loss this weekend and in the days to come. As I cant possibly find the words to describe what Im feeling, I cant imagine what is transpiring within their hearts and minds. Please minister to them through the Holy Spirit of God and anoint them with peace to get through each day and may they find comfort in knowing their babies are being rocked by Jesus Christ. In whose name I pray, Amen.