From the Manger to the Tomb
Who knew a child’s mistake could be so insightful?
As part of our advent calendar, my husband and I read a verse from the Christmas story every evening to our three kids. After I read, I’ll often repeat the verse but leave out a few words so my kids can fill in the blanks. (It’s how they prove they’re actually listening instead of just waiting for the chocolate from the advent calendar!)
The other day, I read Luke 2:7 about Mary: “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
When I repeated it, I said the last part, “and laid him in a . . .” and immediately my 6-year-old daughter blurted out, “Tomb!”
Well . . . not quite what I was looking for! (I guess they still remember the Easter story well.) I told her the word was “manger,” but I also said she was right—eventually people DID lay Jesus in a tomb:
Joseph of Arimathæa “went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone. And the women also followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid” (Luke 23:52-55).
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that: the two bookends of Jesus Christ’s life.
Mary gazing at her baby boy at the beginning of His mortal life.
Mary seeing His body laid to rest at the end of His mortal life.
Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger because there was no room for Him in the inn.
Jesus wrapped in burial clothes and laid in a tomb because there was no room for Him in people’s hearts.
I’m grateful for this small reminder of why we celebrate Christmas. Not just because a baby was born, but because that baby grew up to become the Savior of the world. Not just because he was laid in a manger but because he was later crucified, laid in a tomb, and rose again the third day.
Jesus Christ really is the reason for the season. I hope we all strive to honor Him by making room for Him in our hearts and in our lives. Merry Christmas!