December 20, 2013
READ: Luke 2:1-7
She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them (v.7).
According to a recent Poll, “Away in a Manger” was voted the second most popular carol. Although some of what we sing isn’t mentioned in the Bible (for example, cattle present at Jesus’ birth or Jesus not crying), the carol affirms some deep theological truths.
We’re told that “[Mary] gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them” (Luke 2:7). Why would Luke mention that Jesus was placed in a feeding trough for animals? Why was it significant that Jesus was laid in a manger?
The song “Away in a Manger” reveals His condescension from glory into poverty (Philippians 2:6-8). The King of kings, placed not in a cradle of gold but a manger of hay. Paul commented, “Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
“Away in a Manger” declares that Jesus is fully human; He experienced life’s trials and tragedies. “It was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us . . . so that he could . . . offer a sacrifice that would take away [our] sins . . . Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested . . . [He] understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 2:17-18, 4:15).
“Away in a Manger” says this world has no room for Jesus. Not much has changed in 2,000 years. Jesus has been rejected and evicted from schools, campuses, communities and many other places that previously welcomed Him.
May He find room in our heart! —K.T. Sim
(see John 1:10-14).
What does it mean for you to open your heart to Jesus? Why is our culture continually trying to move Jesus to the margins?