The manger was an unexpected place for Mary to place her newborn in. Strange, humble surroundings, but there was no room elsewhere. Yet in this feeding trough was the Incarnation. The Expression of God’s Love, Promised One, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Messiah, lay in a manger in Bethlehem.
Mary knew that this child embodied God’s will and purpose because an angel Gabriel had told her this son would be great and ‘his kingdom will never end’ (Luke 1:32-33). God, the Creator and Lord of the Universe had taken on human body, truly God, truly human.
· Jesus revealed the invisible God to us (John 1:18, 14:7-11).
· Jesus came to reconcile us to God (2 Corinthians 5:19).
· Jesus provided a ransom for our sins, by willingly sacrificing His body on the cross and triumphantly conquering death in the Resurrection (Hebrews 10:1-12).
· Jesus provided an example for how we ought to live (1 Peter 1:21; 1 John 2:6).
Mary made the best of a situation beyond her control by intimately trusting her Lord, and God’s will was done. God’s purpose was fulfilled in history.
The poor shepherds living in the fields outside town were visited by angels on the night of Jesus’ birth. Understandably, these men were unwittingly terrified of what turned out to be ‘good news of great joy’. After recovering from the shock, they absorbed what God had just communicated to them, and off they went hurrying to check the facts. They went intentionally and by faith. Guess what? The ‘sign’ of a baby lying in a manger was exactly as they’d been told by the Lord. So do you know what they did? They got on ‘social media’ and spread the Good News of a Saviour born as prophesied. Mary’s response was to treasure and ponder the amazing events in her heart and of course to nurture her child.
Our COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented time in history for all of us. What’s your response? Are you trusting God? Are you unwittingly terrified? Are you living intentionally by faith each moment? Sacrificially? Are you spreading the Good News? Where will you go to find the hope and joy? A humble stable? To the eternal Kingdom of God? In the manger we see God’s love.