The Assurance of the Manger

My house is all a bustle as we prepare to host family Christmas next weekend. Last night as I was hanging ornaments, my thoughts drifted back to my childhood Christmas home. If what comes to your mind is a beautifully trimmed and decorated tree with elegant ribbon and wrapping underneath, you’d be mistaken.

We couldn’t afford to buy a Christmas tree. Each year we would cut our own, not from a Christmas tree farm filled with perfectly shaped trees, but from an ordinary field with random pine trees. We lived in the country and would traipse through acres, and often mud, to find a tree that was remotely the size and shape of a traditional Christmas tree. We’d carry back our find like a prized trophy, then proceed to cut the branches to somewhat resemble the right shape. On occasion we’d even cut off a branch and graft it in with string or wire to cover a gaping hole. Then we’d hang large bulb lights, add old and often handmade ornaments, and then cover it with as much tinsel as possible. A handful of tinsel can cover an awful lot of imperfections. The messy, imperfect tree was fitting for our highly dysfunctional family.

Next came my favorite. We’d set up the manger scene. Ours was a small, simple manger with an angel with a broken wing, a few animals, Mary and Joseph, and baby Jesus. I loved the baby Jesus. If there were other pieces, I don’t remember them. Many years later, when my mom moved in with us, the manger made it to our house but not the character pieces. Somehow in the move we’d lost the baby Jesus.

manger

If you are in a place where you don’t feel the presence of Jesus, know this. While it is possible to lose a baby Jesus, you can’t ever lose Jesus. Take comfort in that assurance. When our eyes are fixed on ourselves or on the troubles of the day, we don’t see Him. When our ears are filled with the siren song of the world or the lies of the enemy, we don’t hear Him. But, nevertheless, He is there, longing for intimacy with us, ready to carry our every burden, to break our chains and free us from our fears.

He is the Alpha and Omega, the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. Through Him, all that is, or ever will be, came into being. He is the lover of your soul, your prince of peace, your good shepherd, your great treasure, and your savior redeemer. Turn your eyes and see.

©Ann Wilds