THE IMPERFECT MANGER SCENE
(Rev 12:4-5) . . . And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. 5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.
Cheryl and I try so hard each year to pack the Christmas decorations just right. Some things are fragile and we have to handle them with care. Up in the garage they go for another year. Then after Thanksgiving we bring everything down and hope for the best. This year we opened the box with the manger scene in it that goes on top of our piano. We pulled out the three kings and the shepherd and the sheep and Joseph and Mary and finally baby Jesus. But something didn’t look right. Upon closer inspection we noticed the hand of Jesus was completely broken off and nowhere to be found. I asked Cheryl what she wanted to do since the focal point of the display was damaged. She paused and then said that Jesus came to suffer and He was broken for our sins so that He might heal our broken lives. I quietly and reverently put the baby Jesus in the little manger and every now and then I go over there and ponder the meaning.
How about you? Is your life broken? The fall has affected us all. We are weary sinners who so often muddle through life hoping for the best. But for every achievement there seems to be a failure we have to deal with. Our best attempts so often crumble in our hands and the residual seems to impact our lives adversely. We try so hard to patch things up but eventually things fall apart at the seams. What we have left isn’t even good enough for the recycle bin and we think of just tossing everything into the trash. Does that describe a relationship you are struggling with? An ongoing health issue? A financial situation that never seems to rectify? Have you tried your best at making something of your life, but you are left with brokenness and strife?
Jesus was indeed broken that He might mend broken lives: (Isa 53:5) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Hosea 6:1) Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. Stop trying to mend your own life. You just can’t do it. Follow Jesus and He will make the improvements. (Mat 4:21-22) Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
Yes, that imperfect manger scene speaks to the imperfect nature of our lives and our hurting families. But when those broken pieces of our lives are placed in the Savior’s wounded hands, healing and wholeness begins. And I believe Jesus will maintain His scars (His broken appearance) for all of eternity so we will be forever grateful for His work on the cross, providing for the redemption and salvation of us all. (John 20:27; Rev 5:6)