Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Remember the Manger

A couple of years ago, at the end of November, I was driving up Higdon Ferry back to the church and I noticed the message on the sign at Roland’s Barbecue. I wasn’t sure what it meant. So the next time I was in there, I asked the two people behind the counter, “What’s up with the manager?”

“What?” she asked.

“The manager—is everything okay?”

“You want to see the manager?”

“No, I just was concerned that something was wrong because of your sign.”

“Our sign?”

“Yes, your sign. You know, it says ‘Remember the Manager.’ So I just figured the manager needed prayer or something.”

“Our sign doesn’t say ‘Remember the Manager.’ It says ‘Remember the Manger.’”

No wonder they looked at me like I had two heads. It’s not “Remember the Manager.” It’s “Remember the Manger.” You’d think if anyone would be able to read that sign it would be a pastor. Trust me, my antennae are usually pretty honed in to anything of a spiritual nature I see in our secular world. But boy did I miss that one.

Well, here it is Christmas week, and I’m not going to miss it this time. It’s time to remember the manger. In fact, that’s not a bad rallying cry for all believers as we approach that holy night. Remember the Manger! A cry like that rallied all of Texas toward independence as the cry rang out across the plain, “Remember the Alamo!” A cry like that rallied all of America as the cry rang out from sea to shining sea, “Remember Pearl Harbor.”

But the cry “Remember the Manger” is not a call to arms, not a call to make war. It’s a call to peace.

It’s a call to peace with God—a call to receive the gift of salvation and life God has given us in Jesus. Jesus said he came to give life (Jn. 10:10). He can do this because of his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. He is a living Savior. So receive this life already and find peace with God. Remember the manger! It’s a call to peace with God.

And it’s a call to peace with one another. This baby in a manger taught us to love one another. At His birth the angel choir sang a chorus of “peace on earth.” And when Jesus became a man He said this peace with one another looks like mercy and forgiveness and encouragement and patience with one another. He said it was by our love for one another that we prove that we love God. By sending Jesus through the virgin’s womb and to the cross when he became a man, God made clear that He was willing to forgive us and set us at peace with Him. If God will love us even though we don’t deserve it and cannot earn it, how much more should we love one another. How much more should we live at peace with one another. Wouldn’t Christmas be a good time to let go of old hurts and old grudges and give the gift of forgiveness to someone who has hurt you?

Remember the Manger! It’s a call to peace with God and to peace with one another. So this Christmas I call you to you peace. I call you to forsake your sins and your grudges and your anger and your bitterness and your ill will toward God and toward others. “Remember the Manger!” Remember the Jesus who was laid there just after His birth. And give thanks. Give thanks that God sent Him. Give thanks for the salvation that He brings us. And give thanks for His peace.

Merry Christmas!

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