Yesterday our pastor reminded us that Jesus - God made flesh, came as a baby and was laid in a manger. We all have clean, cute little nativity sets which portray the happy baby laying in a baby-sized manger with clean hay and a holy- looking mother and father. Pastor Jonathan made me rethink this picture. The manger is the only thing we are told about where Jesus was born - we don't know that there was a stable. The manger could have been out in a field or behind the inn where the animals came to eat .. have you ever been on a farm? My husband and I spend years working on his parent's farm and we had sheep and a goat and chickens. Animals stink. The slobber as they eat the hay or food or water. They poop -everywhere. I loved working with the sheep because the smell of lanolin was so comforting in some way - and I loved to feed the animals. BUT - I would not have wanted to put a newborn baby in their feeding area. I would not want to be in pain laying their giving birth to a baby. Mary and Joseph had just been on a long journey. They were probably very tired and dusty from traveling. I am sure they wanted a different place to give birth to the baby - and a different bed to lay the baby in after he was born. But God in His all-powerful, and all-knowing nature knew that in bringing His Son into this world in the most humble and poor setting would show the whole world that He came to partake in human suffering and that He came to serve not to be served.
Wherever God has put you this Christmas season, take the opportunity to spend time thinking about the birth of Jesus. He came and He suffered so that we would have a High Priest who could sympathize with our sufferings. He came and took part in the most physical pain immaginable with His death on the cross. No matter what pain you have today - Jesus can sympathize with you. No matter how desperate your situation, or how poor, or how humble your dwelling - God sent His own Son to the most lowly dwelling of all in that humble manger bed.
He is the God who understands suffering. Turn to Him with your pain today.