“While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger…” —Luke 2:6-7 (MSG)
Not finding any room at the local Holiday Inn, Jesus is born in less-than-ideal circumstances, wrapped in bands of cloth, and laid in a manger. His parents had to make do with what they had on hand, and the manger was a much better alternative to the cold, hard ground. Its hay provided a soft cushion, the box was up off the ground and the sides were tall enough to keep Him safely snuggled inside.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city whose name literally means “house of bread.” How remarkable that into this house of bread is born the Bread of Life, laid in a feeding trough for animals.
Here at the manger—that place where Christ is born into the world—we find our spiritual food. For Frontier Fellowship’s global partners, Christ’s manger can take many forms: a church building or a living room, a bus or a fishing boat, an outdoor market, under a shade tree by the river, in public and in secret. It is remarkable the number of ways and places Christ can be found in the world feeding the spiritually hungry.
For one small Christian community in a rural Asian town, a cozy apartment two floors above the local police department serves as an unlikely “manger.” There, a dozen young followers of Jesus gather to worship, despite the threat and risk of imprisonment by local authorities, who are not friendly to the ways of Jesus. “It is the place God has given us,” says Maalik, one of its leaders, “and the place where God feeds us every time we gather.”
This Advent season, pray that followers of Jesus on the frontier would experience Christ’s abundance and sustenance. Ask that least-reached peoples would find modern-day “mangers” where they can encounter Jesus, the Bread of Life. May every hungry heart be filled!