A messy manger, smelly shepherds and the Christ child

I love Christmas! I love everything about Christmas. I love the cookies, the decorating, the cabinet party, the office parties, Sunday School parties, get-togethers with friends.  I even sometimes love the shopping! AND I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Advent activities at church, and Christmas caroling. 

My list of Christmas LOVES is endless… 

But, wait, wait, it’s 2020 and so there will be NO Christmas Parties. I will not be doing in person Advent activities (except maybe a few outdoors because we live in Houston, hopefully?). There won’t be a dinner party for the extended cabinet at my house. Can you hear me wailing?

But wait, again, every year when everyone is SO busy, I often pause and think about the Christ child, in the messy manger, with smelly shepherds as His only guests and I remember EMMANUEL, GOD WITH US! And I wonder if the busyness and production of the season hasn’t gotten in the way of us realizing that transcendent fact.

That GOD, the great I AM, came to earth as a humble babe in a manger so that we could get closer to HIM.

So, in this Christmas season of loss: the loss of employment, the loss of friends, of family, of gatherings, I believe that we have a unique opportunity to draw closer to Christ. Christ says in Luke 10:41:

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is necessary.” 

This Christmas let us draw closer to Christ and find for ourselves “the better part.” Luke 10:42.  

Let’s learn to have Christ’s heart, Christ’s love and Christ alone in our lives in a new way. 


Mary Lou Reece is President of Reece Construction Company, she and her husband, Bishop Scott J. Jones worship online every Sunday at a variety of different United Methodist Churches across the Texas Annual Conference.

A Closer Christmas is brought to you by the Communications Department of the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. To be considered as a future blogger, please contact Shannon W. Martin, Director of Communication at smartin@txcumc.org