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The long-awaited child in the makeshift nursery

December 24, 2021

Daily Scripture

Luke 2:7, 12, 16

7 She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.

12 “This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.”

16 They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

“What do people know about Jesus’ birth? The manger–the Christmas crib. The most famous animal feeding-trough in all history…. Why has Luke mentioned [the manger] three times in this story? Because the feeding-trough, appropriately enough, was the sign to the shepherds. It told them which baby they were looking for….it was the shepherds who were told who this child was. This child is the saviour, the Messiah, the Lord. The manger isn’t important in itself. It’s a signpost, a pointing finger, to the identity and task of the baby boy who’s lying in it.”*

  • More about the manger’s meaning (also be sure to read today’s Insights blog below): “Jesus… will be wrapped snugly, as any baby might, but lying in a manger, an unexpectedly low-status spot. As Mary predicted, God is ignoring rulers (Luke 2:1-2) and taking account of the lowly (Luke 1:52).”** And “Jesus comes into the world not in a palace or a temple in Jerusalem or Rome but rather is born in an animal shelter in humble Bethlehem. Jesus has no elaborate crib or carriage but is laid in a manger (a feeding trough)…. God desires to bring “wonderful, joyous news for all people” (2:10) to unlikely places through unlikely people.”*** How is it an advantage for people to view a church like Resurrection as respected and respectable? How can it tempt us to forget that we are unlikely people called to share the news of an unlikely savior to other unlikely people?

The Journey: A Season of Reflections

Today’s Insights blog was chapter 25, “The Meaning of the Manger,” from The Journey: A Season of Reflections, by Adam Hamilton. Copyright © 2011 by Abingdon Press, and available on our website for 24 hours by permission of Abingdon Press. If you’d like to buy the entire book of reflections, you can click here for a direct link to the Cokesbury sale page, as well as other Journey resources.


King Jesus, as I remember you lying in that unlikely animal feeding trough, remind me that whatever my human status, I am an unlikely person to receive your forgiving mercy and empowering spirit. I celebrate your birth with humility and gratitude. Amen.

GPS Insights

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Wright, N. T. Luke for Everyone (New Testament for Everyone) (p. 21-22). SPCK. Kindle Edition.

** Richard B. Vinson, study note on Luke 2:12 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 109 NT.

*** Ginger Gaines-Cirelli, introductory note to Luke 2 in The CEB Women’s Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2016, p. 1290.