And then Jesus was born in a stable. The Bright and Morning Star rose and gave light to a broken world. He took his first breath among the livestock and farm animals. His first bed, the manger bed, was a feeding trough.
The place of His birth, Bethlehem, is so significant.
Out of the root of Jesse, the stump of David would come a branch……
This verse is referring to King David (you know, the famous one in the Old Testament…you can read about his life in 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings.) King David was born in Bethlehem. He was anointed King in Bethlehem. Rachel, wife of Jacob was buried there (Jesus comes directly from their lineage) and Ruth and Boaz were married in Bethlehem (Ruth was King David’s Great Grandmother).
And Jesus is born right there in the stump of David, the city where King David was born and anointed King, the consecrated city that was now hardly noticed. It was a nothing sort of town, definitely more like a cut down tree or stump of its former glory than a place of destiny or blessing, yet out of Bethlehem and the lineage of David came the branch, the new life, the fulfillment of scripture and promise. JESUS.
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger…” Luke 2:7.
They lay Him in a manger filled with straw. The manger, a feeding trough for farm animals held the baby that would feed the spiritual hunger of the world.
I’m just going to let that sink in a little bit.
His birth seems like such a small, unassuming beginning. Could the promised Messiah really begin His life this way? Certainly if He was really King, if this was REALLY God’s plan, He would have a more royal beginning.
A manger? In a stable in Bethlehem?
What about us? We look at the circumstances around us. We might have a promise birthed in our heart that isn’t looking so promising. Maybe we’ve hit a few speed bumps along the way.
How many times have we expected our journey to begin in a lofty place? I mean, if it’s REALLY God’s will, it will go off without a hitch, right? We fall into the trap that if we’re really in the will of God that we’ll never have a rough start. Or that if we’re really obeying the Lord that we won’t experience loss or pain or hardship.
How many times do we see our own circumstances with such limited perspective?
The Bread of Life began His life in a manger, a feeding trough.
Really, I’m going to let that sink in a little bit tonight.
When circumstance doesn’t work out like we hoped or planned, promises seem unfulfilled, expectations go unmet, trials that seem unbearable, maybe it’s the manger experience in our own lives, the unassuming place where destiny was birthed, that will become the thing that will point many to Jesus. Maybe that small beginning when we felt more like a feeding trough than a blessed son or daughter will be the one thing that will become a source of life, blessing and spiritual nourishment, pointing to the Bread of Life for a broken world around us.
A manger experience in our own lives could be the beginning of the greatest harvest of our lives.
The manger isn’t a bad way to start. It’s where Jesus began.