Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 1, 2014

Questions about the manger

By The Rev. Jim Stiles, United Methodist Church | Dec 21, 2012

How did I experience Christmas during a normal, ordinary day?

How did I see and experience the Christ child coming into another person’s life? How did I experience Jesus being born in the manger? How did I see God leaving the heavens to let us know that He wanted to share our joys and sorrows with us? How did I see God in the flesh? How did I see Jesus entering another person’s manger?

Let me tell you how.

I was called to visit a family that I had never met before. So I went to meet them. I listened to them tell me of their wishes and hopes. While I was listening, I noticed a young man reading his book. He did not speak. He didn’t even look at me. His grandmother lay in bed, in the front room, just a few feet from her grandson, who was reading his book. When it got time for me to leave, her grandson turned to me and said, “Every night, I move up to her bed and have prayer with her. I hold her hand in mine. I say a prayer for her. I give her a gentle kiss. I tell her that I love her. I rub her face; I look into her eyes; I give her a hug. I cry with her. I listen to her.”

As I listened to the grandson tell his story and what he did for his grandmother, I saw Jesus leaving the heavens to come to earth, so that she might feel the presence of the Holy One. God, in the flesh, the One who came to be born in our mangers.

Do you hear it? Were you able to picture it?

When she was unable to get out of the bed and come to him, he made his way to her. When darkness set in, he brought light. When she could not come to him, he moved to her side, and held her hand. When she could not speak another word more, he held her hand and spoke words of comfort to her. When she said, “I don’t know the way,” he said, “I don’t, either, but I will walk with you.” When others stay away because she smells of death, he smells death with her. When she cried, he cried. When she smiled, he smiled.

For he came to be born in her manger. So that she would know that she was not alone. Her manger was his manger. This is how I experienced God once, during a normal day, while living in Washington, Iowa. I hope you will experience God’s coming also during your normal days.

 

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