Are you awake, Jesus? It’s me, Brian. #rethinkchurch #rethinkChristmas

I hate the song “Away in a Manger.”

Man, that feels good to get off of my chest!  I hope you don’t find me to be soulless, now.  I love Christmas worship songs and secular Christmas songs, so please don’t write me off.

Here’s why I can’t stand “Away in a Manger.”  It all boils down to this line in the song.

“The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes / But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes” 

Really?

REALLY?

THERE’S NO WAY THAT 6 lbs, 7 oz BABY JESUS WAS ALWAYS SLEEPING CONTENTLY IN A CAVE THEY CONVERTED INTO A BARN THEY HAD TO USE AS A MATERNITY WARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the cows were probably pooping from time to time.  Cows do that, fyi.  They might have been lowing (what does that even mean?), but they were laying down some serious sod, too.  Chewing their cud, laying some sod.

Just wanted you to be aware of what the nativity was really like.

Sometimes we need to dig back into the story that we’ve heard time and time again to see what was really there.  What IS really there.  Maybe we’ve concocted a scene that was more burdensome and less heavenly than it really was.  Do you get where I’m going with that?

The Christmas story is filled with a lot of…inconveniences.  Mary and Joseph have to travel several days to register in their hometown.  She’s ready to pop.  There’s no distant relatives in their “hometown” who have room to take them in?  And Super 8’s light was certainly not on for them.  The Advent couple had to look for a spot in a stable that didn’t have livestock on it or livestock droppings on it.  That’s where Mary had to give birth to Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Not very Away-in-a-Manger-y, huh?

awake - 1 - 12-6-13God chose this humble couple in difficult circumstances to break into the world.  He moved into the neighborhood, put on flesh, and became God-with-us in less than ideal awful settings.  When we experience Advent and things don’t go the way we want or expect, we’re in good company.  There’s no such thing as a perfect Christmas experience and there never has been.  Just ask Mary and Joseph.

God still broke into our world on that wonderful day.  It wasn’t great to go through, but it changed the world.  Maybe we need to pay attention to God breaking into our world amidst the imperfections, instead of throwing our hands up in the air when things don’t go our way.

Jesus was awake in that cave.  Are you awake to God with us today?

///

This is such a better song.  Merry Christmas and enjoy!

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About Brian Swanson

Christ follower. Screw up. Stained with grace. Ruined by Jesus.
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