Hidden Message of the Manger

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”false” link=”term=creche&iid=295932″ src=”0292/83cea9da-1ce7-44f1-8375-8a2d2f2e3f78.jpg?adImageId=8615965&imageId=295932″ width=”234″ height=”353″ /]Last night our pleasantly plump tuxedo cat, Boots, sat facing the nativity scene underneath our Christmas tree. He perched Himself within inches of the manger and gazed intently on the Holy Family, especially on the figurine of the Christ Child.  I wondered why he would do this, what He was seeing, what was going through his mind…  

In prayer this morning, during chapel adoration, I think God shed a ray of Light I’d like to share…As most Christians know, the manger was a feeding trough for barn animals, a very humble spot to lay a newborn babe.  Beyond the humility of the nativity story I think the manger may have another message…

Manger comes from the French word “manger” (yes, same spelling) which means “to eat”.  Could Jesus lying in a manger symbolically say “come and eat”? Could it be simply conveying that He is the Food that saves? We know He is the One who saves, the One we feast on, but was that one of the very first messages He proclaimed on the day of His birth as He rested in a feeding trough?

Some may wonder if this was a message He was bringing, then why wasn’t he put on a kitchen table or on a plate, a place that people feed from, not a place from which animals eat?  I too wondered and prayed and I think this is what He said…He was placed in the manger to signify that all of creation would be saved through Him, all of creation would be sustained.  Animals, plants, the entire earth are to be made new (Revelation 21).  He came not only to be the Food that feeds men, women and children, He came to feed creatures of all kinds…He came to save all of creation.  In Romans 8 we catch a glimpse of creation’s current struggle and coming salvation:
The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens. All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs.” (The Message translation)

Through Christ the planet will be renewed, saved, given new life…Through Christ we have the option of being renewed, saved, given new life…will we join the rest of creation and  choose to feast at the manger?  Will we find Food that edifies at the Communion table, at the Cross, at the feet of Jesus?  Or…will we choose to feed elsewhere and deny Christ? 

So, am I asserting Boots was beholding (adoring?) an image of the One who came to save him and his recently deceased friend, our dog Buster? I’m no theologian, no idea if this gels well with Truth, but I do wonder if Boots wasn’t trying to tell us something…

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the Earth! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

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