The Manger

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • Dec. 23, 2018
  • Joni's Posts

Most kids today only hear the word “manger” around Christmas time. But my family raised horses back in Maryland and from the time I was a little girl, I was very familiar with mangers.  It was part of everyday language when throwing hay to the horses.  We'd haul a bale in front of a stall, break it up, and then heave it into the manger.  They were made of slatted boards nailed to crossbeams, and were fastened to the side of the stall. Wooden mangers were full of splinters, and were stale and dusty. Nothing special about them; they were simply functional, serving an ordinary purpose.

One late cloudy afternoon during Christmas, however, I dragged my bale of hay down the aisle and suddenly experienced a wonderful ‘Aha’ moment. That ordinary wooden trough took on a profound meaning -- when people shared the Christmas story, they were talking about this old bunch of boards nailed together. It was such a shock to make the connection between something holy—the Christ Child—with something so ordinary for horse feed.

But that’s what the Christmas story is about, isn’t it? From the first moments of His life on earth, Jesus chose to identify with uncomfortable, dirty things and the stuff of ordinary life. And He chooses to identify with you in your pain and uncomfortable circumstances. The hardships Jesus experienced weren’t just in the suffering of the cross. No, His suffering began in the cradle… in a manger.


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