Listen to this devotional:
Luke 2:12 – This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. (NIV)
I'll never forget that Christmas Eve. The sanctuary was beautifully decorated with all the trimmings. After the children had re-enacted the nativity story, the baby Jesus was left in the manger under the Christmas tree standing right beside the pulpit. As I was giving the sermon, or trying to, I became aware that the little baby was cooing and gurgling away, completely stealing everyone's attention. I was just a sidekick.
Are we not just sidekicks to the manger every Christmas? I wonder why the manger grabs our attention so well. God could have sent His Son into a palace, but why the manger? There is probably a manger sitting in every church's storage cupboard ready to make its entrance into our hearts. Why does it grab us so?
The manger sheltered and comforted the baby whose mother had nowhere to give birth except the humble stable. Then there were the shepherds. When we see the shepherds by the manger worshipping the baby Jesus, the scene becomes pregnant with divine truth: the Lord comes to the poor and to the people of the street with no home.
Yes, the shepherds were hill people, very poor. Others looked down upon them, but even angels came to the poor shepherds. Why? The lesson is twice sent — the circumstances of Jesus' birth teach us that we are to fill the needs of the poor and the homeless. A baby born on the street and the poor with nowhere to rest their heads await our love.
It is a double lesson to us, for we have so much! Jesus has always sent His followers to help the poor and needy. In His famous parable on the great banquet, Jesus said:
Luke 14:21b – Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. (NIV)
So, we are challenged to give our love to our Lord Jesus, and also to the poor and needy. This is our real gift to the Christ Child.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, our Saviour, please forgive us when we think just of ourselves and of our families and friends. We have so much here; our satisfaction makes us complacent. Turn our thoughts and actions, we pray, to help those less fortunate. Lead us to see and notice their hunger, their sadness, their pain. Fill us with the blessing of giving a true gift to someone who cannot give in return. That is Your unselfish love at work through us, and we thank You. In Your name, we pray. Amen.