So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. Luke 2:16
My grandparents on my mother’s side migrated from Sicily. My mom was the quintessential Sicilian cook, baker and homemaker. She invested her life to her home and children and took great pride in doing so. During the Christmas season as long as I can remember, she baked her heart out making Italian cookies and pastries with great care. She gave large tins of her baked confections to neighbors and friends every year. It was important to my mom to keep those Italian traditions alive. I also grew up in a Roman Catholic home. That being said, we went to midnight mass on Christmas Eve and that too was a tradition that the whole family rarely missed. There was something else that my mom made sure was a part of our Christmas celebration. She took out a big box from the rafters and carefully displayed a beautiful manger under our Christmas tree. As a little girl I would sit in our rocking chair pulling up as close to the tree as possible, and for hours I would stare at that manger. Little did I know then, what that manger would mean to me now.
Scripture tells us in 1Tim 1:15 “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” That baby was not only born but He “came” which means that He came into out life and into our world from a pre-existent life and heavenly world outside of our own. Before the world itself had it’s beginning, the Eternal Son had His being.
He not only came but the text tells us why He came, “to save sinners.” He came knowingly, voluntarily, compassionately to the rebels and the rude refusals of those who needed Him but instead rejected Him. He came into our world to live our life, share our lot, feel our pain, and to show us the love of God, to bear our sin, and atone for it all.
That baby in the manger would become my Savior and Redeemer on the Cross. The sweet sentiment and memory of baby Jesus in a stable, was the One who gave me life through His death.
Calvary would be the crown of His birth that the kiss of God’s forgiveness would be felt upon my unclean lips.
Oh the manger, O the manger how silently it speaks
As God in baby flesh was born, with love that ever seeks.
My childlike heart adored Him then
Yet still adoring I dimly comprehend.
The Lord of glory stepped on this earth to save the likes of me
To pardon and deliver and truly set me free.
From baby cries, to the Cross the God of love came here
The manger is God’s greatest gift, to all who would draw near.