A different manger this year

Christians do not live in a soup of miracles.  There ought to be more stories of raven-delivered meals, over-flowing cupboards, storage bins that are bulging, and a dramatic reduction of hunger, poverty snd homelessness.  Can it be that money makes the  world go round and not love.  God has not made a habit of serving up wonders when human intelligence and creativity are the perfect means for spreading the non-miraculous glory of God.  God’s big moves have involved small players and his program proceeds triumphantly.  Pandemic conditions are no reason to try to find the Saviour in circumstances we create.

Most of us would not go near a stable even if cash and a life of service was involved and some of us would change the lowly circumstances to luxurious lodgings.  God was pleased to introduce His Son to the world in humility.  Celebrating the arrival of the Christ-child ought to have an appreciation –  jump right into a home without a bed, refrigerator or locks – of emptying oneself.  Maybe like Sukkot!

The festival of booths.  Sukkot!

42. You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, 43. so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’” 44. So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the Lord.

Leviticus 23:42-44

Since God’s mission was to become personally familiar with human circumstances it is important that humans embrace those circumstances that the Messiah came to.   They should not be strange to us. By Christmas 2021 we each should each become capable of emptying ourselves by immersing ourselves in the humble lifestyles of our neighbours.

The manger where we meet the worshipping foreigners, the Saviour and his family is a sign of God’s ways being different from humans. It is a sign that the old ways of thinking and acting were heading to the exit. It is a picture of the decay in Judean life and the miracle of survival against all odds, something all naturally born humans can relate to against the background of the one sperm out of millions that made its way through a hostile environment to make the fetus that becomes a human being.