She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
I have a co-worker expecting a child any day now. I’m pretty sure she expects her baby to be wrapped in a sterilized blanket and placed in a sterile crib with all precautions being taken to minimize the amount of germs the child will in contact with.
But Mary had none of this and laid Jesus in a feed trough for animals. Jesus slept his first night in the sheep’s manger. Can you imagine the shepherd’s astonishment when they arrived to see what had been announced to them?
Of course, this wasn’t Mary or Joseph’s choice. They tried to get a room at a local inn, but there were no vacancies. Today there might be a red neon light flashing a big NO VACANCIES creating a pool of light on the parking lot (or snow).
There are times when no is the hardest word we hear. Yet Jesus has seen NO from us since the very beginning. Turn on the news and you’ll see many people don’t even want to consider him during Christmas, instead turning this time into a winter holiday. Even in the life of a faithful believer, there can be situations where we say, “Stay out of that part of my life….Keep that door closed.”
So Jesus was turned away and stayed laying in the manager, the only place available. He’s not protected from the world, but lying in it.
I pray we open our hearts and minds for Him this Christmas and into the New Year, not excluding Him from any part of our lives.