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Judah and John, Fathers of Faith
Ode to the Twelfth
The Greatest Thing
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The Way in a Manger
by Rick Brown

    The night was cool. The air was crisp. The ground was hard. It was their bed. The stars their blankets. They kept watch over the sheep.

    They knew The Promise: The Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). But outcasts are not invited into the throne room of a ruler. Those who sleep on beds made of dirt and hay, who wear peasants' rags, are not included in the birth of a king.

    But this was not any birth and certainly not any king? As they peered through the dark night, keeping an eye on their flocks, they noticed the sheep were less difficult to see. In the darkness there was a building glow. Then, in an instant, a brilliant blast of light burst away their night. An angel stood in their midst and proclaimed a marvelous message.

A Savior has been born to you. You will find a baby wrapped in rags and lying in a manger.

Royalty in rags. Holiness bedded in hay.
    Next, the heavens exploded with a symphony of angelic voices praising God. The shepherds were left with only one thought on their hearts: Let's go see this thing the Lord has told us about.

    What they found was the same thing you and I still find. God in the flesh. Royalty in rags. Holiness bedded in hay.

    God had come to them. So close in fact that he looked just like them. So close that these outcasts were the first to witness his arrival. So close they could embrace him.

    So close we can embrace him. God became a baby who lived among us, as one of us, to lead us back to home to our Father.

    So the next time you find yourself caught in the drudgery of life, know that the one who slept among animal dung understands.

    The next time you feel you have no place called home to lay your heart, know that the one who slept in hay has felt the same way.

    The next time your tears go unheard, know that the one who cried — wrapped in rags — hears your cries.

    On that unforgettable night, the shepherds found what we can also find. It was more than what they dreamed for. They had found a way to God ... the Way ... in a manger.


HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-97, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
© 1999 Rick Brown. Used by permission.