Monday, December 16, 2013

Look for the Manger

This week, we are moving into the rhythm that we go through during the last full week before Christmas. Not only is my church preparing for next Sunday’s special services with Handel's Messiah in the morning and Sunday night’s “Live Nativity” presented for our community, and not only do we look forward to Christmas Eve services shortly after that, our hearts and hands are preparing at home. We are shopping and cooking, mailing packages and sending invitations, and attending parties.

It seems like this time of year, we are always looking for something. We look for things like the tape and the new roll of wrapping paper, the addresses we misplaced, and the cinnamon that we were sure we left on the counter.

But I invite you to take time each and every day to look for something else – something more precious and mysterious and wonderful. I invite you to look for the manger.

You may ask, “Is it lost? Why do we need to look for the manger? Did someone misplace it after the Kindergarten program on Friday?”

What I mean is this. The great miracle of the incarnation was placed in the simplest of settings. The majesty and glory of God was laid in an animal trough. The King of Kings was laid in a blanket of prickly hay.

In that spirit, I invite you to look for the simple things that hold the greatest mysteries this season. The deepest meaning of Christmas does not come in the form of the most fantastic and festive. It comes to us in the warmth of night that can only be found in the coldness of a barn, the willingness to do what you must with what you have, and the simplest of arrangements.

Look for the manger, and you will find something special this year.