I grew up on a farm where we raised cattle. Everyday I would fill the feeding trough (manger) with hay or silage. Over time, the wood that formed the trough became worn from daily use. It smelled of cattle saliva as well as old hay and silage. I viewed that feeding trough in our barn as merely functional, not worthy of any great purpose. To me it was an ordinary part of my daily chores.
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:7, NASB).”
I think of that manger in the barn from my childhood when I read that passage in Luke. I can vividly picture the Son of God being laid in a manger. It’s a striking image for me — how God used something so ordinary to hold His Son. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).” There was Jesus, “the Word became flesh, visible to others, cradled in an ordinary feeding trough.
It’s a powerful image of what God can do. You may feel worn out, barely functional each day, but God can take what you see as ordinary and transform it into something glorious for His Kingdom. You may feel smelly, dirty and unusable, but God can cradle his son Jesus in you. There, in the ordinary of your life, he lays Jesus upon you. The ordinary becomes extraordinary, visible for others to see.
© 2021, CGThelen
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).”
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13, NIV).”