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Christmas Devotion

Big Lessons in Small Pictures

By Laura Smith
Guest Writer

As I looked down into the manger of the nativity scene, the Holy Spirit said to me: "There are big lessons in small pictures."

I began to think about what a manger was used for. It was an "eating place" that held food for the animals -- donkeys,cows, and maybe even sheep.

This seemed to be so small and insignificant, but in Luke, chapter two, God thought it important enough to point it out three times. He also pointed out that the baby Jesus was laid in it.

"Father, I asked, "what is the importance of the manger?"

God led me to the Old Testament, Exodus, chapter 16, which tells about the Israelites being led out of captivity and into the wilderness. They complained about not having food. God gave them "manna" from heaven, which they complained about later also.

From there, my journey continued to the New Testament (John 6). Jesus had fed 5,000 people with five barley loaves and two fishes. Later in that chapter, He tells the crowd and the disciples, " is My Father Who gives you the true heavenly Bread. For the Bread of God is He Who comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world. ...I am the Bread of Life, He who comes to Me will never be hungry..." (vs.32b,34&35).

From there, I found myself in Matthew, chapter six. In verses 8-13, Jesus tells us that GOD knows what we need and then teaches us "how" to pray. In verses 11 and12, He says, "Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."

As I gazed back into the manger, I realized that when Jesus the Messiah was born and laid into that manger that God, Our Father, had sent from heaven Manna that was more holy than any other that was ever sent before. Jesus is our "Manna from heaven."

Sadly, some still complain and want something different, just as the Israelites did. He is the "Bread" that we need to ask to be fed from daily. When we eat from our "Bread of Life" -- Jesus Christ -- it becomes spiritually necessary to get rid of the dirt that is inside. Therefore, we need to ask for forgiveness.

My little sheep, come to the manger and take a second look inside. As you look at the babe inside that manger, whom everyone came to admire, remember that He is the same person who later was rejected, mutilated, and killed for sins He never committed -- but you and I did. Praise God, Jesus arose from the dead! Now, because He did this, we can go to our manger and eat daily from the "Bread of Life" and drink His "Living Water." My little sheep, it's time to eat!

May God bless you with a fresh new look at the birth of our Lord, Savior, and Messiah, Jesus Christ!

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