This very special series of Christmas devotionals is by Trudy Junkroski.
Gazing into the Manger, treatment Part II
Scripture: When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds begansaying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. Luke2:15,16 (NASB)
Thought for the Day: One year, as an adult, I broke tradition a bit and went away for Christmas. I had the wonderful experience of being in Spain at Christmastime. I was only there for a short time, wandering around the cobblestone streets and old stone buildings in an old area of Barcelona. I was particularly enjoying seeing all of the crèches – manger scenes – on display throughout town. Just as it was getting dark, I heard hymns coming from somewhere in the midst of the old stone buildings closely clustered together. I followed the sound down some narrow alley-like streets, and found a small cathedral where hymns were being quietly sung while people filed in to view the crèche, light candles, meditate and pray. It was a surreal Christmas scene. Even though I wasn’t certain how welcome I was to enter the cathedral, I couldn’t resist. I was a long way from home on Christmas, gazing into the manger, this beautiful crèche; experiencing the peace, joy, and light – not just feelings associated with Christmas, but a transformation of spirit.
Throughout my life, I’ve enjoyed and embraced the festivities of the Christmas season as window-dressing for the main event of gazing into the manger at the Light of the World. The manger scene has been sort of encapsulated into a nice package with the typical characters – Mary, Joseph, the animals, shepherds, wise men, angels, and Jesus. I think in packaging the story this way, in envisioning this Biblical event of several thousands years ago, perhaps we leave ourselves out of the scene. All of us have a place at the manger. Whether we view the Christmas story literally, metaphorically; have strong opinions or no opinion at all; whether we’re in church, out of church; at home, or strangers in an unfamiliar place, we are welcome at the manger.
(To Be Continued…)
Prayer: God of infinite love, no matter where we are physically and spiritually at this moment, guide us to the manger.