The Baby Lying in the Manger

“And they [the shepherds] went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child” (Luke 2:16–17, ESV).

I love to study the preseason polls and the rankings of college football and basketball teams for their approaching seasons. I love checking out the weather channel and examining the five-day forecast. I love marking days on the calendar like birthdays and special meetings and holidays, especially Christmas. I confess—I am just a junkie for eagerly awaiting the next special occasion. Anticipation of upcoming significant and amazing events is like a hobby of mine. I think I enjoy looking forward to the event as much as I enjoy experiencing the event itself! News of upcoming events always gets me excited.

I imagine that these shepherds in Luke 2 engendered the same sort of inquisitiveness and curiosity that I love to feel. But, the news from the angels concerning the baby lying in the manger did not simply prompt some idle chatter to pass the evening hours while tending sheep. Instead, this divine message provoked the shepherds to immediate action. Eager anticipation to see and confirm the amazing reality of the news about this baby is what drove these shepherds to abandon their duties and quickly seek out and find Mary and Joseph. They did not settle for a discussion about the news; rather, they were determined to witness it firsthand.

This should be true for us as well in our Christian faith. We must desire to directly experience the significance of the baby in the manger. So during this Christmas season, the challenge for us is to enjoy to the fullest the wonderful days of anticipation leading up to Christmas. Then we should follow the shepherds’ example to quickly approach and experience firsthand the baby lying in the manger.

But notice what else the shepherds did following their experience with the baby—they shared the message. In the same way, Peter and John confessed Christ in Acts 4:20: “‘for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’”