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Ministry

Luke 2:6-7

Read the whole passage for today here.

6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7

In her book Light of the World, Amy-Jill Levine makes this point:

The term manger is not just a bed of straw; it is a feeding trough. Those who remember their high school French should recall the verb manger, “to eat.” Mary places her baby where food is found; how appropriate, for this baby will later take “the bread…saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me'” (Luke 22:19). By locating Jesus in the manger, Luke is anticipating the Communion story. More, the name Bethlehem literally means “house of bread.” If you go to a traditional Jewish household or a service where there’s meal, you would begin with the grace before the meals: “Blessed are you, Lord our God, ruler of the universe, ha motzi lechem min ha’aretz, who brings forth bread (lechem) from the earth. We should remember the manger in Bethlehem not only at the Last Supper but also in connection to all the passages where Jesus shares a meal with others.”

Tomorrow night, I’ll say the words of institution at our Zoom Communion Table during our Christmas Eve service. I’ll quote another favorite author, Ann Weems, who wrote “If there is no cross in the manger, there is no Christmas.” I suppose it’s also true that if there is no bread of life in the manger, there is no Christmas.

O Immanuel, our Sovereign and Lawgiver, desire of the nations and Savior of all: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Come, Lord Jesus.