And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them.
Many years ago, I discovered the pure joy of flannel sheets. For anyone who lives in a cold climate, come winter, flannel sheets are wonderful! They warm me up soon after crawling in-between the sheets.
I had not changed to flannel sheets at Rick’s folks until last week. And the weather was cool enough so I truly appreciated them. This morning, it was just a bit difficult to crawl out from between the soft, warm flannel sheets.
Yesterday, I discovered a little nativity set of my mother-in-laws. The figurines are small, just a couple inches high. I placed them on the big window ledge in the front room. Today, when three-year-old Ellie was here, she was fascinated with the little figurines. I had the magi and the shepherds and the animals stretched across the window sill. Ellie rearranged them; all grouped together, with Baby Jesus smack dab in the middle. The animals peaked in to see the baby in the manger.
Ellie knew who Baby Jesus was. I helped her fill in the rest of the story. We talked about how Mary is Jesus’ mother and Joseph was his earthly father, remembering that God is his real father. We talked about how three guys traveled a long ways to see Baby Jesus and brought him special gifts. The shepherd, well, he was taking care of the animals. And Baby Jesus was born in a barn because his parents couldn’t find a house to stay in.
I asked Ellie where Baby Jesus lay. She knew that he lay in straw. I asked her what the straw was in and she didn’t know. Later, when she tried to tell Grandpa Rick, she couldn’t remember the word “trough.”
Some hay can be soft and sweet smelling. But not all straw is like this. It is seldom as soft and warm as my flannel sheets. Yet, this is how the Savior of the World spent his first hours: lying on some smelly, stinky hay. I’m not sure how cold it was that night. But isn’t it interesting that straw in a manger was good enough for Jesus. Makes me appreciate my flannel sheets all the more.
Lord God, your choices for how the Savior entered the world often does not make sense to us. Why would a king be born with animals and smelly shepherds? Why wasn’t he laid in expensive cloth rather than course straw? May Jesus’ humble entry into this world keep us humble. Amen.
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