Good Shepherd Lutheran Church


The Shepherd's Staff

Advent Devotion - Week 3 - The Manger

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Luke 2:12 "This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”

I remember as a first-time mom feeling overwhelmed by the long list of items I needed to buy for our
soon-to-arrive, Dylan. There seemed to be far too many things to prepare and purchase, and not
enough time or money for that matter. I’m not sure who it was, but someone commented to me one
day that really all we needed to have ready for him to come home were diapers, and a place for him
to sleep. That is just about all Mary and Joseph had for their newborn son—some swaddling clothes,
and a manger.
When I think about the manger, to me, it is a symbol of Jesus’ humanity. We often talk about
his divinity. The manger encapsulates the whole idea that something so holy, so other-worldly has
now become so ordinary. He is the son of God; in him, all of creation is held together, and here he is
needing a place to sleep, just like all babies. Like all babies, he is totally dependent on his parents.
Like all babies, he is helpless and fragile. Like all babies, he will have to be nurtured and cared for to
be able to grow, and one of his parent’s fist acts of provision we read is giving him a manger as a
I find that God has a way of taking ordinary moments and objects and making them holy. A
feeding trough is not something we would pay much attention to normally, but Christ’s presence in it
makes it something so much more than a wooden box that animals eat out of.
During Advent, we talk a lot about preparing and welcoming Christ. It kind of feels like our
hearts and lives become like the manger. Something that might feel ordinary, and plain, or as Pastor
Ted mentioned, flawed and rough, can now become something so much more when it holds Christ.
Our lives are not often glamorous. Most of the moments we experience are normal, everyday things.
We are rough, sometimes very rough—our hearts and lives are not perfect. There are flaws, and
pieces of us that cause splinters and scratches. We might feel plain, but Christ dwells with and in us.
That dwelling takes us ordinary people, with ordinary lives, and makes every moment ripe with the
potential for Jesus to make himself know. There are few things that get me more jazzed than waiting
with anticipation to see what God will do and how he is going to show up. I love to watch him work.
Like watching an artist’s painting slowly unfolding in front of your eyes, you see his hand at work in
ways and places that you would never would have imagined! You begin to wait with anticipation to
see his next move, and you cannot help but marvel as how his presence can inject life, joy, and
eternity into the most ordinary items, mangers included.

1. How have you seen Jesus show up in everyday moments, and ordinary places in your life?
2. What are you waiting with anticipation for?
3. Are you struggling to see the potential for the everyday to hold the holy? Why?