Photoshopping the Manure from the Manger

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”


But amidst all the parties for hosting and marshmallows for toasting—let’s face it—Christmastime can make us feel more like Charlie Brown than Linus. Despite the joy of the season, we cannot escape the sadness of the moment.  Everyone else seems happier, everyone else seems to have more joy, in fact, everyone’s life seems better. 

 This year, I have a question for you. 

 What if there is a place for our sadness during the holidays?

Maybe our sadness points to a deeper longing within us that won’t be satisfied with shopping and decorating and eating food that goes right to our thighs. “Not feeling like it’s Christmas” may actually help us meet the Christ of Christmas.


Jesus was born in a messy manger, in a smelly barn surrounded by loving parents and the acrid aroma of manure. Picture this, Word made flesh, coming from the splendor of Heaven into a barn.  God reached down and met us, in the middle of our messy, messed up, broken and rotting lives. He didn’t wait until the world was perfect to come. 

This is why we know that He isn’t afraid to encounter us in our messy lives. He comes to bring joy to sad places, including our hearts. So let’s refuse to drown our sadness in consumerism and eggnog this year.

Let’s remind ourselves that there is a King who came and is coming to wipe away every tear.

Instead of trying to clean up and make the manger scene looks like a picture from one of those awful Precious Moments collections, let’s embrace the fact that manure, and rot, and brokenness was very much mixed with the sound of the angels singing and the cries of the Prince of Peace.  

So- this Christmas, I urge you- don’t let the mistakes, the poor choices, the moments you wish you could erase forever make you think that Christ didn’t come for you.  If you let him, the next time He comes as a King, the plentiful compost of our mistakes will fertilize a great harvest of souls when He comes to take His children home.  He died so those sins would no longer rule us.

Don’t photoshop the manger. The only expectations that matter are for the future He has promised us. 

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