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The Christmas of Mangers, Feeding Boxes and Troughs
The cliché: Jesus was born in a manger.
As a city boy, I find it cruel to know that someone has to give birth or be born in such gruesome conditions. I thought even homeless folks could go to a public hospital for that.
But as it was, this happened to Joseph and Mary, and the baby boy Jesus.
Background: The first census mandated everyone to go back to their hometowns for registration. Mary was already on her 9th month - on her 40th week, most likely. And yet, they have got to go and obey the decree. I guess disobedience would be fatal. But don't pregnant women hurt themselves when they travel out for a long time? Either way was fatal.
Mary just sat there, on a camel or donkey, and she would feel those birth pains, and it was aggravated by the bumps on the way. It would have been hot by day, and cold at night. And still they went. How far was it then? How many straight hours or days did it take?
“…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
(Luke 2:7 NIV)
And when they got there in Bethlehem, no inn nor lodging were available. Here was Mary, tired, exhausted and worn out from the journey, and no family was kind enough to help them. No one cared to let them in. No mother or father's heart was touched at Mary's plight. No sister or brother's emotions were stirred by their helpless condition.
And so they found themselves in a stable, and Mary went into labor. How do women give birth during those days? Would they need some hot water? Was there a midwife to assist Mary on her firstborn Child?
And out came the Light of the world at nighttime. He was wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger. In a feeding box. A trough. Was this cleaned and sanitized? Is the saliva of cattle and horses clean?
If that was not barbaric enough, then how about putting hay and fodder as cushion. Wouldn't those produce skin irritations, to both mommy and baby?
And there was baby Jesus, tender and delicate, born in the presence of cattle and horses, in living conditions so debased of human dignity, and yet He came.
If you were a king, how would you want your son to be born? If you were God, in what incarnation-form would you want the Redeemer to be?
We would think of a man of steel, with super human attributes and qualities. But Jesus was born in a stable, placed in a feeding box, and later grew up as a carpenter, and at the prime of His earthly life, He bled and died, horribly – on a piece of wood.
My Lord Jesus did this all for me. No other human form was as so debased as to be born without medical attention and placed in a feeding box. A feeding box.
The nativity scene is being replicated every December on shopping malls and some other public places. It’s cute and exotic, but it’s not where we would want to live in.
Nobody wants to inhale all those dust and hay, let alone sleep on them. Nobody wants to put their lovely newborn baby in a feeding box. Nobody wants to be refused of shelter. Nobody wants to be inconvenienced to travel long distances while pregnant on the ninth month.
And yet these things happened, and it keeps on happening. There are some parts of the world where women are mistreated, helpless families are refused shelter, and babies don’t receive medical attention.
Has Jesus been born in you?
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Come to think of it...
This Christmas, in all the fun and laughter, gift-giving, receiving goodies, and more food that we could ever eat in one sitting for consecutive days, let us remember how and why Jesus came. He came so we could have fun and laugh our hearts out, and enjoy gifts and food. He came so we could share all those wonderful stuff to others, to spread the spirit of Christmas to those who especially needed it the most.
The Christmas of mangers happened because the Father doesn’t want to leave anyone out. The Son came to save us, from the lowliest to the loftiest, to free us from the poverty that ruins and the pride that destroys.
Come to think of it, we are the mangers. Jesus is born in us. We are the filthy dusty vessels that embody the epitome of Holiness. God the Father decided that we carry His Son in our lives. We are the feeding boxes that offer the Bread of Heaven to the hungry and weary. We surrender the hay of our lives - the dead and unconnected to Life - to Him. And God uses our humanity as a pedestal where shepherds and magis come and witness the glory of the King.
© 2013 cr0cus