MANGER LIVING


MANGER LIVING

In a world fraught with an incredible number of choices available to guide our lives it is a tough sell to plead the case for spiritual simplicity. Yet the exquisite assortment of choices which shape our daily lives are laced with the hooks and barbs of painful experiences, trauma and meaningless existence.  To establish our sense of personal worth based upon ownership or relationship is to invite an ever growing negative awareness that our sense of emotional balance is constantly in a precarious state of instability.

Knowing this and being able to detach from the illusions of stability are two separate pathways. Believing in the safety of these illusions eventually leads to crisis, loss and despair. While negotiating the pathway of detachment provides an enriched life experience and tools to negotiate the toughest challenges in life.  One pathway leads to the existential anxiety of aloneness and uncertainty. The other pathway yields a sure knowledge and certainty that there is a divine plan for each life and meaning in every encounter we have with others.  

The King of Kings chose a manger as His first earthly throne.  To those who could grasp the significance of this gesture, Jesus Christ invited them to seek out a relationship with His Father that was based upon simple truth. There is nothing complicated about the life of a Christian; which is not to say that we are not often faced with complicated situations.  The essence of His message is summed up in a life committed to the concepts of Faith, Hope and Charity; three elegant concepts for transforming lives.

How to personally operationalize these concepts is the subject of this article. It is strictly an inside job which depends on the individual’s ability to be honest with themselves. The ability to transform our lives does not depend upon our religious fervor, nor does it rely upon our beliefs. The change starts with the realization that our efforts have not yielded a consistent sense of peace and joy. Somehow what we seek and obtain never yields the satisfaction we have been seeking. Instead we just continue the search in a different relationship, acquisition or arena of life.

If our current efforts have not produced the desired results, what direction should we pursue to obtain such a treasure and why should we negotiate a new life strategy? In other words if what you are doing now does not work, stop doing it. It is that simple. In stopping the endless motions and attempts to create a new life, we come to a complete stop. We discard all that we have accumulated and go back to the beginning. It is never too late to begin again.

If the Lord of Life could begin His earthly ministry in a manger, then we can abandon the pretexts of our lives and focus on the simple truth that we are all spiritual beings. We were not created for wealth, lust, greed, pleasure or vindication. We have been created to know Him, serve Him and love Him in this life and share eternity with Him. So where I start this journey makes little difference, a mansion on the East Coast or a death row cell on the West Coast.

In seeking out a relationship with the King who lived like a servant, we acquire the privilege of son-ship with that King, even while we are living in the squalor of a prison. The mind is incapable of embracing the radical notion of this concept. We can only spiritually apprehend this reality by engaging in a relationship with Jesus Christ. If the Lord could come a dwell among us, do you really believe that He would reject a soul that humbly came and confessed his/her sin and asked for forgiveness. It is that simple, coming to Our Creator in faith like the blind man who called out for Jesus as he walked by. This blind man knew that if He could just get to Jesus his whole life would change. That is the kind of faith that moves mountains. Mountains of despair and regret. Mountains of sadness and sorrow. And mountains of humiliations and losses.

Trusting is the act of putting faith into operation. As I read the words of scripture my inner man is renewed and transformed. I start to catch the vision and the spiritual reality starts to manifest in my life no matter where that home may currently be. Knowing that the Holy Spirit is responsible for changing my heart, I stop fretting and worrying about things outside of my personal control. I start to embrace a day to day walk with Jesus Christ as He shows me the divine plan for my life. Nothing I have done previously will keep me from living in His presence. That is the free gift of the Lord, the same God who came and started His life in a lowly manger.

Consider what you have now in life, what you have accumulated and accomplished, would it ever match the forgiveness of Our Risen Savior and the everlasting love of God? Doesn’t some small precious part of you hunger to be loved and accepted as a member of the family?

 
 

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