Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Child In The Manger"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (NKJV)
As I was looking through some of the Christmas carols in the hymn books that we have, I noticed that a fair number of them refer to either the stable or the manger: "Once in royal David's city stood a lowly cattle shed" or "Child in the manger, infant of Mary", "Away in a manger", or one of my favourite Dutch carols, "In Bethlehem's stable lies Jesus the Lord."
Some shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem heard from the angels that the Saviour was born there and could be found in a manger:
Luke 2:11-12 – For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. (NKJV)
I would like to accompany them and see how this lamp, the Word of God, will illuminate that place. At the time of Jesus' birth, the stable in Bethlehem was a desperate place, I'm sure. As we enter, we see a very sad scene indeed: a poor, tired-looking couple and a newborn child in a manger. Is that why we came to Bethlehem, to see a poor couple and a child in a dirty stable in the middle of the night?
In the first light of this lamp of Scripture, we see the genealogy of Joseph and Mary as it is written in the first chapter of Matthew and the third chapter of Luke. Much to our surprise, we discover that they were descendants of David, that great King of Israel. This little child in the manger is therefore the real claimant to the throne of Israel. This is not an ordinary child; this is a Prince.
The lamp of the Word is still shining, and we see that Micah prophesied that the ruler of Israel would be born in Bethlehem:
Micah 5:2 – But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. (NIV)
The light of the lamp now falls again on our friends the shepherds. They have brought us here, and they tell us, and Joseph and Mary, what has happened during the night, the things that they have heard and seen. They heard songs of praise from the heavenly host, and they were told that today was born the Saviour who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David, right here in Bethlehem.
Although they all went back to their homes and their flocks and their work, I would suggest that things were never the same for them again. The lamp of Scripture shows them talking to every person they saw, telling them about the birth of Jesus and the things that they experienced that night. May we do the same!
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You for the lamp of Your Word. We pray that it will illumine the path to the Saviour for many people as we again remember and celebrate the birth of Christ. We offer this prayer in His name. Amen.
Forward this devotional Share this devotional on Facebook Like PresbyCan on Facebook
Amen indeed! Thank you, Joel.
Thanks, Joel, for reminding us about the Light, the source of our lives.
Thanks for the inspiring words, Joel. Have a wonderful Christmas season.
This is a lovely devotional today Joel. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Yes, if we could have been with those shepherds that night!!
O Joel, just when I thought I’d heard every take on the nativity, you bring up a brand-new aspect and set in a memorable context! Grateful for your inspiration and clear message today. Blessings.
Thank you, Joel, for today’s message. Yes, if we could only have been with those shepherds that night! What a sight!
Blessings to you and yours this lovely Christmastide!
Yes, Joel, “May we do the same.”
Let us make our voices, our Christmas cards, our gifts all speak of the SAVIOR who has come and who remains in his Spirit in the world to receive all who believe.
Thank you for writing. Please continue.
Thank you for another very good devotional. Yes, reading the word about our loving Saviour truly lights up and enlightens our lives.
Blessings for your writings.
Thanks Joel. Lovely reflection. I was in Bethlehem during the first intifada. It was a very dark place then, but a wonderful service. On the roof were soldiers instead of angels. It gave me pause to think about the darkness that the holy family experienced.
Blessings this Advent.
Thank you, Joel, for sharing this devotional with us. I read somewhere that those shepherds were watching, i.e., guarding the flocks of sheep… those being raised to provide the temple sacrifices! Jesus, the Lamb of God, was attended by shepherds… even at His birth, the cross casts its looming shadow! Blessings.
My baby sister was not to live 6 months she lived 25 years and died from a car accident. We had attended church at a little country church and she always complained about how dark it was going to the church so when she passed away my father donated outside lighting.
Enjoy your devotionals thank you.
Joel, thank you for reminding us about the lamp of the Word as we go about our lives. Blessings.
Thank you for your devotionals throughout the year. They are always thought-provoking and helpful.
I found your approach to the ‘Lamp in the Stable’ a refreshing angle! So often we’re read the Scripture from Ps. 119:105 but never had I thought about the ‘lamp’ being ‘in the stable’! Of course, He was and is the Light of the world, the Word made flesh and the Word IS the ‘lamp to my feet and a light to my path’! Thanks for that ‘aha’
I don’t think I’ll ever think of the stable without the Word/lamp there foremost in my mind!
I also think you’re so right that they were changed and once any of us ‘meet/see/experience the Lord’, we do want to share with others! May we be faithful especially during this advent season to let the Light shine from within us!
Hello Joel. You have given us another very special devotional and thank you for it.
May you and your family have a very blessed Christmas.
Thanks, Joel, for shining this devotional light upon us. Blessings.
Thank you again for the worshipful devotion.
May we follow closely the ONE born at Christmas.