This past week was my turn to houseclean our church ..After working overtime from my job, I drove into our church’s parking lot to unlock the doors and begin vaccuming the floors. Our church puts out an antique manger scene near the side entrance. The figures of Mary, Joseph , Baby Jesus and one little lamb are almost life size and illuminated from within by light bulbs.. The manger is a wooden crèche covering the figures with strewn hay placed under the figure of baby Jesus . A life size figure of Jesus as an adult is also placed on the side.. The entire display is so simple and humble.. and it reminds me of just how simple and humble our Lord’s earthly parents truly were..and how simple and pure He is Whom has emptied Himself and made Himself of no reputation.. and the poverty in which He had been born into.
I think it was the hay that really affected me.. the realization that our Lord was born in a feeding trough where animals of labor ate from., and where they rested for the night on hay. How far removed are our churches of today and the real poverty and simplicity our Lord lived from first entering this World to the day He was executed from this World. He was as Jonah in the belly of the whale.. the Whale representing this dark World which could not contain Him any longer, so it “spat Him out” of it’s belly.
When I looked at the life size figure of adult Jesus placed at the edge of this humble manger scene, I saw a Jesus with a simply woven garment.. possibly patched up in spots where daily use wore holes in the cloth. Red sand dust showing near the hem of His garment where He walked the wilderness roads from village to village.. about His Father’s business. Worn sandals that revealed great use. I touched the shoulder of His life size figurine.. His shoulder .. and I felt as though I was touching the shoulder of a homeless man. Would I be offended in Him., in His poverty? Or would I embrace my Lord, who out of total love, emptied Himself to identify with the poorest of the poor.
Our Lord, Emmanuel .. God with Us, came down to our World from the Ivory palaces and streets of Gold, to sleep on earth’s hay and live with beast-like mankind.. that we would follow His Light and find the way back to the Father– His Father and through Him, now ours once again.♥