The Angels Sing - Part 4 [Devo]

Going Deeper with the Message | The Angels Sing – Part 4

I grew up in a church that put on a children’s Christmas pageant every year. We dressed up in robes and headscarves and carried a baby doll and stuffed sheep down the main aisle of the church. We’d stand on stage while the congregation sang hymns, and our little minds wandered to the hot chocolate and cookies waiting for us in the fellowship hall. Sometimes we would do a live nativity outside, with a barn background and farm animals to keep us excited and entertained for what was anything but a silent night.

Pastor Tim shared on Sunday that the traditional vision we have of a wooden stable may not be an accurate representation of the conditions Mary and Joseph found themselves in on that night in Bethlehem. He painted a picture in which the animals were housed in a cave, with the feeding troughs being made of stone. This shift in my mental image of the night of Jesus’ birth has stuck with me in a way that often happens when I read the Bible. I suppose there’s a reason it’s called “The Living Word,” as it seems to change and grow every time I read it.
This image of a cave brought to mind another cave that we see later in the Gospel – the one in which Jesus’ body is placed after his crucifixion. The cold, stone feeding trough takes the place of the warm wooden manger that I have often envisioned was His bed. The swaddling cloth that Mary lovingly wrapped around her baby to keep Him warm and calm brings to mind the clean linen cloth used by Joseph of Arimathaea to prepare the body of Jesus for burial.
This shift in my view of the traditional Christmas story brings a weight to the holiday, a change in perspective toward the life of Jesus and His purpose on Earth. It is so easy to get caught up in the trappings of the season. Remember that Jesus’ birth was only the beginning of His journey on Earth, to be the One who takes away our sins and creates a pathway for us to Heaven. And that is truly a reason to sing, “Gloria! In Excelsis Deo!”
Author: Michelle Lemley, Nursery Coordinator
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