Sunday, December 23, 2012

Why A Manger?


Hello everyone! I’ve had such a busy week. I’ve done more revisions on my novel and have officially drafted my query letter to begin sending to agents. I’ve also finished the first week of my Mosiah inductive study to send to those who’ve agreed to be in  my test group. We’ve got a good sized group so I’m excited to start getting feedback. If all goes well, I’ll have the Mosiah study completed and ready to send to anyone who wants to know their scriptures more in depth in just a few months. Plus, this morning I got to teach the last chapter in the George Albert Smith lesson book, Righteous Living in Perilous Times. What an instructive chapter.

Now onto today’s topic…..

You may not know this about me, but I love collecting both nutcrackers and nativity sets. I don’t have many, but I do love them. You may send donations to….  just kidding. 

I’ve been thinking about the nativity a lot lately. For years I thought about the injustice of the King of Kings having to be born in a stable. Imagine, a filthy manger filled with animals. Couldn’t the innkeeper have at least asked anyone if they’d be willing to give up or share their room for the woman in labor? Could not the Spirit have prompted some righteous soul to help them? Instead, he was born in the most humble of circumstances. Our humble Savior. I love Him so much.

It occurred to me last week, and I don’t know why it never had previously, that Heavenly Father arranged those circumstances intentionally. I mean, He is in charge of the universe. He could have arranged affairs to be more in Mary’s favor. Why didn’t He? Here is what I think. God loves symbolism. The temples, both ancient and modern are rife with it, as are both the ancient and modern Scriptures. So why should we not find symbolism in his birthplace?

1 Corinthians 5:7 calls the Savior our Passover. What does that mean?  In our Old Testaments we have the story of the Israelite Passover. Pharoah’s heart continued to harden and he refused to let the Israelites leave. Moses warned him that if he didn’t change his mind that God would destroy the firstborn son in every household. God is holy and compassionate and does not punish indiscriminately.  He provided a means of safety for all who feared Him. Any family that did not want to be touched by the destroying angel was to slay an unblemished male lamb and spread the blood on the doorposts of their home. When the destroying angel saw the blood he would pass over that home and the firstborn would be safe.  Many children died that night, but not in the Israelite homes. They obeyed their God and were spared.

Now, if Christ is our Passover lamb, does it not make sense that He, too, should be born in a stable. The angel told the shepherds their Savior was born that night. I think he was preparing their hearts for the fact that He would not come as a conqueror to banish the Romans, as many of the Jews hoped, but instead as a humble servant and sacrifice for our sins. So that, if we repent and put our faith and trust in Him we too shall be spared by the blood of the unblemished lamb Jesus Christ. Doctrine & Covenants puts this better than any passage I have ever found thus far. When we are standing before our God and the vileness of our sin is exposed, the Passover Lamb steps forth.

“Listen to Him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before Him—Saying: Father, behold the suffering and death of Him who did no sin, in whom Thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of Thy Son which was shed, the blood of Him whom Thou gavest that Thyself might be glorified; Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto Me and have everlasting life.” D & C 45:3-5.

Do you hear the pleading of the Savior on your behalf?  Do you see the gush of His blood that was spilt for your sins? I will never look at a manger the same again.

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