When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in a manger. Luke 2:15-16
In our eyes the manger of Bethlehem represents difficulty and rejection but in God’s sight it was the perfect place. God didn’t just settle for second best, the stable was exactly what He had always planned. So what was so great about a smelly stable? Why did God come up with the idea of the manger? It reminds me a little of ministry at our local nursing home. Usually we are given a special room where people come to hear some hymns, an encouraging message and a prayer. But occasionally we cannot use that room because they have a staff meeting. At those times they ask us to gather in front of the nurse’s station at the intersection of two corridors. It is inconvenient and cramped but lots of folks who never come to our meeting are included on those days.
On the first cold Christmas night at Bethlehem’s manger that is exactly what happened! Just steps away from the main streets of the village, shepherds came, angels sang and everyone heard the news. God reached out and put his arms around ordinary people who He loved with an extraordinary love and said-
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord! Luke 2:12 ESV