every life lesson can be learned

Not Your Mama’s Manger Scene

Whether you believe it to be true or not, I think we all can agree it’s the greatest love story ever told.  The story is written in the most read book in the history of the world.  The plot of any romance novel or movie pales in comparison.  It’s the story of how the Savior of the world humbly began his life in a stable and willingly gave his life on a cross.  Our franch helps us teach our children the reality of His birth.  You see, your mama’s manger scene doesn’t tell the whole truth of that day.  His birth did indeed happen in a stable.  But, the nativity scenes sold in stores are clean, fresh, and flawless.  Well, this isn’t really the case for any place farm animals are kept.  For one, our barn is always dirty and dusty no matter how frequently the children sweep.  Our children are used to their friends holding their noses because of the smell of fresh manure in our barn.  We think of our feeding trough that’s bent and dented as it’s used twice a day every day to feed our livestock.  It’s licked repeatedly, pushed over, and rolled in the dirt as the animals search for every last grain pellet.  It’s likely that the feeding trough that cradled the hero of the world wasn’t brand new or scrubbed perfectly clean by Mary and Joseph.  Our children have played on our hay bales for hours, but I’ve never found them asleep on the hay because it’s simply not a comfortable bedding choice.  Yet, hay is what kept Him warm in the manger.  A stable is also certainly not the most peaceful place for a newborn to sleep.  Our drafty barn is filled with noise as the wind rattles the barn doors and all the farm animals make their Old McDonald sounds.  The King of kings surely deserved a beginning opposite to circumstances such as these.  But, God’s plan for His son was not a high-profile birth in an elegant palace on a hilltop.  Instead, He came to earth in the lowliest of circumstances.  Why?  It’s all in His name, Immanuel, which means God with us.  He wasn’t hidden behind some elegant gate guarded by an army of soldiers living a pampered, privileged life like the kings and queens of the ages.  He was born in a barn so that even the lowly and filthy shepherds wouldn’t feel ashamed to go to Bethlehem to see Him.  And so, our manger scenes could use a handful of dirt to remind us of what God was willing to do to show His love for us all.  But, before you sprinkle some dirt on your mama’s antique nativity scene, you might want to first tell her why.


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  1. Seth

    How easily we forget where He left and to what He came. Very powerful and well written. I’m stealing this for a lesson someday. Thank you.

  2. Phyllis

    Thanks for taking me to the manger for a few minutes. Your poignant writing, appealing to all my senses, made it so real. Aren’t we so grateful for that kind of Savior.

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