Sometimes you have to start at the end to understand the beginning. This is true of the manger "scene" of the Christmas story. Take a trip with me to the book of Revelation and I think you'll understand. But first, le's chat a bit about the manger. In The Gospel According to Luke, we have the only gospel account of Jesus' birth. One verse many of us get a little grossed out and maybe even upset over is Luke 2:7. Let's read it together: "And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." (ESV)
So, baby Jesus was born and then placed in a manger, also known as a feeding trough. In modern times we think that's gross and unsanitary. And it is. BUT....let's take a trip to Revelation 12:10-12.
Again, let's read together: "And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” (ESV)
A couple of things to note. In verse 11 "they" means believers. And the Lamb means Jesus. When I read this passage earlier this week, it hit me that this baby we celebrate is the same Lamb whose blood conquered sin. , the grave and the "accuser of our brothers", Satan. And our testimony can be given only because of Him. Don't get me wrong. I knew these things already. What struck and held me this time was the word "Lamb". Jesus wasn't just a baby. He was also the Lamb, sent to earth to save us. So when I think of Him as a lamb, His birth setting makes sense to me. In fact, it was perfect. The Lamb was born in an area where animals would be, where lambs would be. But unlike other lambs, who would be born and sleep on the ground, He actually was wrapped in cloths and was placed higher, in the manger. Even as a baby born in lowly surroundings, He was still God and He was still higher than us all.
I can't ever look at a manger scene again and think anything other than "Everything was perfect, even the manger."