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She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
— Luke 2:7
Where is a baby first placed after he or she emerges from the mother’s womb? Today, we use hyper-sterilized blankets and sanitized cribs. A Plexiglas dome, if necessary. All precautions are taken to minimize the number of germs the child may come in contact with.
But Mary laid Jesus in a feeding trough for animals. The Good Shepherd took refuge that night in the sheep’s manger; and when the shepherds came to see what had been announced to them, how stunned they must have been.
Of course, this would not have been Mary and Joseph’s first choice. They would have preferred a modest room at a local inn, had there been any vacancies. If it all took place today, maybe a red neon light would have flashed a big NO that created a ghastly pool of light on the asphalt parking lot.
There are times when no is the hardest thing we have to hear. Yet Jesus has seen and continues to see the no sign from the very human race he had a hand in creating. Many people don’t even want to consider him. Even in the life of a faithful believer, there is so much inside of us that wants to say to him, Stay out of that part of my life. Keep that door closed. No, you may not spend the night.
So instead, Jesus stays where he can. A feeding trough will do. He’s not protected from the world, but lying in it.
Prayer for today:
Lord, make way in my heart and mind for you today. Unlock every door. Open the most valued places. Don’t let me try to exclude you from any part of my life.