Welcome to the manger

December 19th, 2018

Christmas Eve is near — the time we gather to celebrate the birth of a baby: God made flesh, Emmanuel. If we have spent Advent preparing to welcome Jesus, then we may feel calm, joyous or hopeful as we move into Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. If we have been distracted by shopping, decorating, holiday parties, cleaning, preparing for guests or making travel plans, then we may feel anxious, hurried, and exhausted, even wondering how to catch up spiritually. Those dealing with grief or loss this season may want nothing to do with celebrating. In whatever condition we come to the manger — frazzled, fraught or free — we must allow ourselves to come and welcome the baby who accepts us as we are and can change everything.

A baby changes everything

New parents who have welcomed their first baby know how life-changing it is to have a baby in the house. Round-the-clock feedings, diaper changes, right-below-the-surface emotions, well-wishers and visitors, the new noises and cries of the baby and the constant wondering if they are doing it right — it’s all overwhelming. A baby changes everything, but parents will tell you it is all worth it because the changes also brought something to their lives they never knew they needed. This Christmas Jesus can do the same for us. If we allow him to take his rightful place in our hearts and lives, we can forever be changed for the better.

Come and see

The manger, like the Eucharist table, is open to all. Everyone is invited to experience Mary and Joseph’s joy. Just as the shepherds did, everyone is welcome to come and meet the Savior and then go and spread the good news. Will you come and see the one the prophets foretold and the angels heralded? Will you come, see, and celebrate?

Question of the day: How do you react when you see a baby?
Focal scriptures: Luke 1:46-55; Luke 2:8-20; Luke 19:1-10

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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