Make My Heart a Manger

A place Where Jesus Can Reside

This time of the year the Christmas story is a big part of things. You know the one, the on where Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger. As we reflect on this story here are a few things to think about.

When Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem is was full of people going about their required duties. There were so many people there was no place left for Jesus to come into this world except an animal shelter. He was given the leftovers. Too many times this is what we give Jesus… We give Him our leftover time and attention. We don’t give Him anything but some space out with the animals.

Give Jesus more than your leftovers.

A manger is a trough or box for feeding livestock. Yet this was the place where our Savior was first laid. This was the place where He began to change everything. It was the starting point.

Jesus doesn’t need a palace or a king size bed. He just needs a place to reside.

This story from “1001 Illustrations That Connect” edited by Craig Brian Larson and Phyllis Ten Elsolf about Rose Kennedy, mother of President John Kennedy, explains this well. (Make your heart a manger)

Rose Kennedy’s story:

“I was a spoiled young bride of a strong-willed man, a socialite who attended every function possible,” she began. “We were expecting a child and elated at the prospect. The day came when our child was born. She was a beautiful child.

“But it wasn’t long until we realized that there was something terribly wrong with her. We took her to the doctor, who confirmed our fears. She was [mentally handicapped], and nothing could be done.”

“Anger grew in my heart,” Rose said. “How could God do such a thing to this child — to me? I turned my back on God, my husband, my closest friends — and became a recluse.

“One evening, a major event was happening in the city. I wanted to go, but I was so filled with wrath that I thought I might create a scene. My husband feared it, too, so we decided to stay home. A lovely woman, who was one of our maids, gently said to me, ‘Please excuse me, Mrs. Kennedy, but I’ve been watching you the last few weeks. I love you very much, and I hate to see this destroy your life. Mrs. Kennedy, you’ll never be happy until you make your heart a manger where the Christ Child may be born.’

“I fired her on the spot! Yet later that night, my mind ruminated relentlessly, keeping me awake. I could not forget that lovely face, the sweetness of the maid, the joy in her spirit, and especially her words.

I have loved Christ my whole life, and tried to be a good Catholic, but now I knelt beside my bed and prayed, ‘Dear God, make my heart a manger where the Christ Child may be born.’ I felt a fresh, new, divine entry into my life, and there was born in me a love for [mentally handicapped] children.”

“Oh, by the way, I rehired the lovely maid,” Rose added. “She was with us until her death.”

Make your heart a manger where the Christ Child may be born.

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