Let’s all just admit it, Christmas treats are the best treats. A slab of fudge. A rich, hot beverage. Goodies of all kind seem to just appear at every event, meeting, and gathering. My Grandmaâ€“â€“in her heydayâ€“â€“used to make enormous piles of cookies to take a plate to (it seemed) the entire population of Cheyenne. Sugar cookies, molasses cookies, chocolate malt cookies (my personal favorite), peanut butter balls, and just about every variety imaginable. It seems like our mouths are never empty during the days leading up to Christmas.
There’s a curious detail that is a familiar fixture of the Christmas narrative. Nothing is more iconic of the Christmas story than the manger scene. Mary (usually kneeling), Joseph (standing close-by), and baby Jesus in the manger (Luke 2:7). But, what is a manger?
It is a feeding trough. Animals ate and drank from it. It is no accident that when the eternal Christ was born, He was laid in a feeding trough. It was no royal cradle, gilded with gold. It was no mansion. It was a humble hovel. And there the Bread of Life, the Passover Lamb was welcomed into the world which He had made, and which had been in rebellion to Him since the fall of our first parents. Spurgeon comments on this part of the story:
I believe our Lord was laid in the manger where the beasts were fed, to show that even beast-like men may come to Him and live.Charles Spurgeon
An added wrinkle is that the town in which He was born was called Bethlehem, which means in Hebrew: House of Bread. So here is the Lord of Gloryâ€“â€“who had fed the wandering Israelites with bread from heaven, and had delivered them from Egypt while they feasted on the passover lambâ€“â€“come to feed us.
David tells us, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him (Psa. 34:8).” Christmas is a celebration of a feast which God invites us too. The feast is a feast of His own body and blood. Jesus later taught that, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (Jhn. 6:35).” So, however delightful Christmas treats are, we should remember that God has prepared a feast for His people. A feast of Himself. We are to partake of Him by faith, for in Him alone is the true Bread of Life, by which starving souls might come to feed and by His own life, they too may live.