Mangers, Poo, and Forgiveness

I know you’re busy.  It’s that “wonderful time of the year,” right?  I won’t take long.  Promise.  Just a quick “dish” of something good for you to chew on.

God likes mangers.

You know the scene of the first Christmas.  No room in the inn [Luke 2:7] … but there was plenty of room in the stable.  Not the place you would expect for Son of God, right?

What are your favorite smells of Christmas?   The pine of your Christmas tree … your favorite cookies … cinnamon and eggnog … wafting throughout the house.  How inviting do you think the smells of that stable were to Mary?

Stables are also not known for their cleanliness.  In fact, they are messy, real messy!  Don’t miss the impact of God choosing a stable and a manger to welcome the Savior into the world.

Our lives are just like that stable which God chose for this significant event.  The great thing about God’s Christmas gift to us is that He came to our mess.

That’s the Christmas message of Jesus.  His Gospel.  Jesus meets us in our “messy manger” called life.  If you haven’t noticed Luke 5:31-32 before, highlight it in your Bible.  Because it’s God’s gift of hope – Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do.  I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners & need to repent.

Did you get that?  God forgives!  He knows your messes and mine.  But through our faith in Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins.  Everyone who believes in Him is declared right with God [Acts 13:38-39].

For sure, there was no housecleaning done in that stable for the arrival of Jesus.  But He does a complete housecleaning in our lives.  Unwrap that in your mind and accept the Gift of Jesus into your heart.

God saved you by His grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.  Ephesians 2.8-10

In his song Reckless Love, Cory Asbury sings about a God Who chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine.  I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away.  Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God….  When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me….  When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me.  You have been so, so good to me.  [Read Luke 15 to understand these lyrics even more; for a video with lyrics, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc6SSHuZvQE]

God can take any mess in your life & make it His new message.  If life was writing our story, we would be victims.  But Jesus stepped into a manger and out into our world and onto a cross for you and me!

Trade your failures for His un-failing love [Romans 5:8].  That is the real meaning God puts into every Christmas.  It is the gift that keeps giving!

Jesus didn’t stay in the manger and Jesus doesn’t let us stay there either.  There’s much better with Him!

God has given us the greatest Gift of all – His Son, Who died on the cross and rose again so that we can know Him personally this Christmas and every Christmas, and better yet, spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!  [2 Corinthians 9:15]

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