Friday, December 07, 2007

Manger Hearts

One of my favorite lines in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special is when the ‘little red-haired girl’ asks, “Did the Inn-keeper’s wife have naturally curly hair?” I get such a kick out of that because the Bible never mentions an innkeeper or his spouse who (if she existed at all) may or may not have had naturally curly hair… We assume there was an innkeeper, and that there were three kings named Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. We assume that Mary and Joseph arrived on a donkey and that everyone in our nativity sets were all gathered together for a nice silent night at the same time under the watchful eye of a pretty little princess angel, but the truth is, the Bible only mentions an inn where there was no room and a manger where there was.

Luke 2:4-7 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

I remember when Christy was pregnant with Anna and how we made her crib… how we decided on poplar and picked out the best we could find. How every cut was measured and re-measured and how we sanded and sanded the slats. We went over every square inch of wood a million times with different sand paper, and then with polyurethane. We glued the slats in place and clamped them down to dry. We then poured over the instructions as we assembled this beautiful crib… we picked out a great mattress and the cutest sheets and bumper pad. Everything had to be perfect to give our baby the safest and most comfy nights’ sleep.

And then I think about Jesus in the manger… the Creator of the world was wrapped up in random cloths and laid in a feeding trough. You know, when you make important furniture, you pick great materials and take lots of time and care to build what you had in mind, but it’s not like that with functional barn furniture… That manger was probably thrown together with mixed-up, stray and uneven scraps of wood that had been rejected from all other uses. Broken pieces may have been rigged up and haphazardly nailed into place. It didn’t matter what it looked like or what it was made of because all it was ever going to do was hold horse feed… that is, until that night. On the night that changed all other nights, that manger had the most important job in the world: it held Jesus, the King of Kings and Prince of Peace. That manger became the holiest place on earth.

The throne of God in the temple in Jerusalem was a place only one person entered and only once a year. Inside was the holiest piece of furniture in human history: the Ark of the Covenant, covered in purest gold and watched by golden angels. But that’s not what His throne is like anymore… When God came to earth He chose a manger for His throne and I think He still likes it that way. These days He looks for hearts where He can find a home, and He’s not looking for the spotless, untainted heart… He’s looking for hearts that are like His old manger crib… broken, scrapped, rejected and ill-used, but perfect for Jesus, and when He sits on that throne He makes it holy just like He did on that first Christmas.


Christy Younger said...

Wow, babe- that was awesome. I love you so much and your insight blows my mind!!
Your Trust

The Hull Munchkins said...

It's fun how we can relate to Jesus more now that we have kids! Even in small things like the crib/manger he didn't get any special treatment.
He loved us that much.
Can't wait to see you guys in only a little over a week!
The Girls are looking so much older, and so adorable!

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