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

     The manger, a simple item used to hold the grain or hay up off the floor so that the animals can eat where it is cleaner.   For the animals’ it is a place to find nourishment and is part of their normal routine to check the manger for food.  To see if someone has provided more feed.  Mary and Joseph come into Bethlehem and due to the overabundance of visitors they find themselves homeless, shelter-less and a baby on the verge to be born.  The Innkeeper makes the offer of his stable, it is their only offer of a place to stay.   Yet the stable is all that is needed.  The One who creates the animals is birthed in a stable, placed in a feed manger. 

Away in a manger no crib for a bed,

the little Lord Jesus lays down his sweet head,

the stars in the sky look down where he lay,

 the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

     The shepherds are invited by Angels, to come into the stable. They are invited, to view Baby Jesus, in the manager on the hay.  The shepherds found Jesus at the most accessible place possible for them, in a lowly stable lying in a simple crude wonderful manger.  The very place that they fed and cared for their flocks becomes the very place they met the Savior of the world.  They found remarkable access to the one who created them and their sheep.  For no one is too low or forgone to meet this Savior.  The encounter at the manger would change the shepherds forever.  Their Messiah, they met there that day at the manger.  The reach of the manger still has power today.

     If Jesus had come to a kingly palace as he deserved, his reach would have been limited and his access would be denied to those he came to seek and save. The reach of the manger still has power today.

     The wise men or magi came seeking a king.  But they found all they needed that night in a stable with a king lying in a manger.  Not a royal king that demanded worship out of fear.  For even the wise can find their way to the stable.  No one is too high or prominent to find access to the stable and to Jesus lying in a manger.  The reach of the manger forever changed the lives of the wise men who sought out a king.

     The reach of the manger is all encompassing, it reaches Kings, and it reaches the poor.  It makes no distinction between race, classes, political stance, or belief.  It only makes room for all to come to the Manger. 

     May we, this Christmas Season and into the New Year experience time at the manger to contemplate a God who reaches out to all, not by demanding us to become cleaned up and perfect, but by simply allowing us into a relationship with him.  There is room at the manger for all.

                                                           Pastor Bill