CHICAGO, IL (December 25, 2009) – “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12 TNIV).
It was a children’s sermon at our home church – North Park Covenant in Chicago – that caught my attention as Interim Pastor Judith McCullough suggested a different way of thinking about that manger in Bethlehem.
A manger, she reminded us, was a feeding trough of sorts – a place where hay was put to feed the cattle. Interesting that God would choose such a strange place to hold his son, his precious gift to the world.
Not so, Pastor Judith observed. She used John 6:35 to connect the dots, where Jesus declares: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry …”
The manger, then, becomes a place not only for feeding hungry animals of that day, but symbolic of the place where we, too, can be fed with the “Bread of Life” and never experience spiritual hunger again.
May the manger and all that it represents speak anew to our hearts this day as we once again celebrate the birth of Christ – the Word become flesh and dwelling among us, the Bread of Life.