Luke 2:1-21 (5-4 BC)
I always thought the word, “manger” was far too pleasant a word, perhaps because we never use it in everyday English.
It conjures the idea of Jesus was in a cozy cot. Even the Christmas cards tend to have a very Jesus-sized manger with straw nicely arranged and the animals totally fine with the arrangement.
The ‘sign’ to the shepherds that they’d found the right place, when they were looking for the newborn Saviour of all mankind, was that he was in a feeding trough in a shed. These were financially poor men, but this was rough living even by their standards. So rough that they’d know when they saw it because no-one else in Bethlehem had a newborn in squalor quite like that.
Look back at what the angels said about Jesus. He was:
- Good news
- A cause of great joy for everyone
- Born in Bethlehem (seemingly obvious given they were just outside Bethlehem, but is a specific reference to Messianic prophecy in Micah 5:2)
- A Saviour (there was only one who was promised)
- The Messiah
- The Lord
And for the avoidance of doubt, the sky then became filled with singing angels.
God wasn’t telling everyone – yet – but those few people he did tell, he REALLY told them. Mary didn’t go around telling a lot of people – bearing in mind she’d be bearing Jesus, maybe that would have been odd, less credible somehow. So she “treasured” and “pondered”. Meanwhile the shepherds “spread the word”.
These guys didn’t know a whole lot, they weren’t very educated, their understanding was limited, but they knew they need to tell people. They weren’t concerned about being able to go back and recite all the relevant prophecies the angels were referencing, they just took what knowledge they had, and the certainty given them by the angels, and that was enough for them.
You may not be a great debater or a mighty theologian. Few people are. But you know what God has done for you, you can see how he keeps his promises, you know that Jesus lives…and there are a lot of other people who need to know that, too.