Lying in a Manger

by Martin Luther

She gave birth too her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)

All of us should use the gospel to evaluate ourselves. How near or far are we from Christ? How are we doing in faith and love? Many become inflamed with dreamy devotion when they hear about how impoverished Christ was when he was born. They grow furious at the people of Bethlehem and criticize their blindness and ingratitude. They think that if they had been there, they would have served the Lord and his mother. They wouldn’t have allowed them to be so miserable. But these people don’t even notice their own neighbors who are nearby and need their help. They ignore them and leave them as they are. Who on earth doesn’t have miserable, sick, blundering, or sinful people around them? Why don’t they show their love to these people? Why don’t they do for their neighbors what Christ did for them?

Don’t deceive yourself by thinking you would have treated Christ well when you don’t presently do anything for your neighbors. If you had been at Bethlehem, you would have paid just as little attention to him as everyone else did. You only want to serve him because you know who his is. Let’s say that he were to come, lie in a manger, and let you know that he is the one you now know so much about. Of course you would want to do something to help. but before that, you wouldn’t have done anything.

Similarly, if you could see your neighbors now as they will be in the future, and if they were lying in front of you, then you certainly would take care of them. But because you only see them for what they are now, you ignore them. You fail to recognize Christ in your neighbors.

From Faith Alone – A Daily Devotional – General Editor James C. Galvin

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6 thoughts on “Lying in a Manger

  1. Amen Mike,

    How often do we ask “What would Jesus do” to ourselves? How often do we pass up an opportunity to help someone or share our thoughts of Christ with someone?

    There always seems to be a reason for us to “put off” helping those less fortunate then ourselves. I know this to be true for myself, I’ve been wanting to get my family and myself involved in a local homeless shelter for awhile now, but there never seems to be a good time, well I just ask that you pray that this Christmas that I will commit to what the spirit is leading me to do and put aside a time for my family and I to go help .

    In His grace,



  2. Amen Dave,

    Good to hear from you again. I like your new Blog. Yes, we are never more Christlike than when we stoop to help those around us in need. I think that if you involve your family it will be even more special. I pray that God will work this out for you to do His will here.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  3. “All of us should use the gospel to evaluate ourselves.”

    How often do people evaluate themselves according to “Am I saved” and not “Am I walking with Jesus”. Spurgeon said, “It is dangerous to rely on a former conversion “experience” as your basis for salvation. We should be turning daily from sin to Christ.”

    And we have in these last days fully rejected the “Press toward the mark” exhortation and fully embraced the “I said the sinner’s prayer” standard. Eternally dangerous that may well be the undoing of millions.

    PS – Mike, the right hand side of the comment window extends into the blog roll and will not respond to the up and down arrows.


  4. Amen Rick! You are exactly right.

    WordPress must have been having problems earlier because I am not having any problems right now with the comments.

    Have a great Christmas Rick!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  5. Tonight I start my 4-day 12 hour gruel for work and mostly likely won’t have time to comment during that time, so I wanted to write and say, “Merry Christmas and may this time be a time when God draws us all nearer to Him.”


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