Born in a Manger

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7

This will be a brief post, but I wanted to post something in line with the Christmas season before diving back into other topics.

This holiday, Christ’s beginnings have been on my mind. I’ve given and received gifts, sat in on lessons and talks about the symbols that we use to celebrate, and seen pageants and movies paying homage to the birth of our Savior. But, I think there’s something missing from the lessons we teach each year.

Three Christmas Ornaments
Photo by Plush Design Studio on

In light of the Church’s Light the World campaign, many talk about serving in Christ’s place and spreading His light. Almost as an afterthought, we’re told to continue spreading that light after Christmas is over.

But, is that all we should carry on after the holiday?

I remember many a lesson and testimony being shared over the years that express this thought: “If we are faithful in paying tithing and following the prophet, we will be blessed more than we believe possible.” It’s always bothered me to hear testimonies lined up in this way.

What about the poor who give all they have to build up God’s kingdom? What about the faithful whose time and money are invested diligently with no financial return? Did the widow suddenly find wealth after casting in her mite? Why is service performed as a charity in the name of Christ’s light, though we still hold onto the idea that faith is the ticket to more lucrative tomorrows for anyone who will just give themselves to God?

While finances may come and go in correlation with faith, they are not always causationally linked to our righteousness.

Christ was born in a manger. He was born to a young couple. He was conceived out of wedlock. His parents, in faith, continued their relationship despite social and, potentially, financial repercussions. He was raised by a carpenter. He relied on the generosity of others to feed, clothe, and shelter Him during His ministry. He called His apostles to leave their livelihoods and follow Him with nothing to sustain them financially.

Christ was the most faithful, most righteous, most humble, and most destitute of us all. He had nothing but His faith.

Further, He served not to spread a message; He wept with the weeping and rejoiced with the rejoicing because He sincerely loved them and cared for their wellbeing. He spread the Father’s love and message because he knew it would bring His heavenly siblings joy during the mess that we call life.

Small stone nativity
Photo by Jessica Lewis on

This Christmas and this coming year, I want us to remember that money is not a sign of faithfulness, nor is service about the good feelings you get in hindsight. Faith and service allow us to act on our love for God, ourselves, and others. Prosperity that comes from righteous actions is not the money in the bank, but the blessing of resilience to push on.

While finances may come and go in correlation with faith, they are not always causationally linked to our righteousness.

Serve to provide compassionate care because you love your fellow men. Act in faith to get close to God. But, please, don’t look down on yourself or others because you or they rest in a manger. There’s good company to be found in humble conditions.

And there’s always room in the inn if there’s room in your heart to lift up others to better days.

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