December 11: Manger

Luke 2:7 NLT
She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.


Mary had to lay her newborn baby in a feeding trough. Not because she wanted to, but because she had to work with what she had at the moment. God wasn’t offended. God didn’t rebuke her for not planning better. He didn’t say to her, “Look, I’m about to have the angels announce to the shepherds where they can find baby Jesus. You may want to clean this up and pick something else out before it makes headlines that you’ve got Him in a manger.” No. He instead used her out-of-the-ordinary improvisation as a sign. A sign that spoke to humility and simplicity.

Mary did what she could with what was available to her and that was enough. And as I picture this scene, her wisdom “between the lines” speaks to me, “Just use what is in your hands, Linda. Stop overthinking things and focus on what really matters. What you have is enough.”

During the holidays especially, I think there are times we can all battle with that feeling – that question – of, “Is it enough?” And even beyond the holidays, I can admit, there are times I’ve not moved forward in something either because I felt like what I had wasn’t enough, or because I felt like I didn’t have what I “needed” to make it happen.

Today, let us release those expectations we tend to place on ourselves and find encouragement through the simplicity of the manger: Do do what you can with what is in your hands. It is enough. If you don’t have what you think you need, maybe it’s not so important. It’s what’s inside that matters. And the nature of God can be glorified by us doing what we can with what we’ve been given.