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The Wonder of the Manger

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Karen bought me a special early Christmas present this year. It is a small outdoor manger with Joseph and Mary holding Baby Jesus. At night the solar light illuminates the manger’s wooden images of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. They really stand out in the darkness. My favorite part is that the light casts a shadow of the manger on the side of our house. The shadow cast by the light of the Joseph, Mary, and Jesus is much larger than small wooden figures in the yard. Through the light, the image of the manger has an enlarged impression cast on the house. I love to stand and ponder the meaning of the manger as I look at the shadow on the house.
The Gospel of Luke tells us simply about the manger. “While they were there (Bethlehem), the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger; because there was no guest room available for them” (Luke 2:6-7; NIV). As I read this passage, I ponder the wonders of the manger.

 There was no room in the inn. Is there room in my heart for Jesus?
 If God’s Son can be born in such a humble way should I not simply be humble?
 The King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s was born in an unexpected place. Can I look for God in unexpected places and places of wonder around me?
 The manger is enveloped in the dark but the star sheds light on the manger. Can I see the light of Jesus in all the dark places?
 Christ is born in Bethlehem. Can I allow Him to be born in my life?
 Joseph and Mary had to trust God through an unknown and unpredictable season leading to an unlikely place of the manger. Can I trust God with the unpredictable, unknown, and unlikely places in my life?
 Jesus is born through the miracle of the virgin birth. Can I have faith to witness the mighty and even miraculous deeds of God?
 Can I live with the good news in all times, Immanuel “God with us.”

Finally, when I see the manger and remember the birth of Jesus, I ask, “Can this impression of God’s love be enlarged in my heart?” May the manger and presence of the Christ child inspire your hearts this year! Karen and I wish to extend to all members and friends of Shalimar United Methodist Church a Merry Christmas and God’s Blessings into the New Year.

Shalom,
Philip

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