Away in a Manger

David Bast

READ : Luke 2:1-7

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and . . . laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (v. 7)

We read a lot about the retail economy during the Christmas season. We also hear a lot of complaints about all the commercialism. Isn’t Christmas really about love and peace and goodwill?

Appealing as such things undoubtedly are, the Bible doesn’t start with them when it tells the Christmas story. It starts with the headlines of the day: “A decree went out from Caesar Augustus.” Caesar decided he needed to update the empire’s tax rolls in order to deal with that perennial government problem, the budget deficit. Who could have imagined that all this effort was being superintended by God just to bring Mary to Bethlehem for the birth of her baby? And of all the millions of souls numbered in Caesar’s great census, surely none was as insignificant as this poor Jewish child.

Augustus in the imperial purple in Rome and Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger are worlds apart. Yet today Augustus is only a name in a history book, while Jesus lives and reigns in the hearts of hundreds of millions—and on the throne of the universe as well!


Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay

Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.