Eating the Nativity

On our denominations ministerial Facebook page that I still belong to, someone was talking recently about the manger. Jesus was placed in a feeding trough--a place animals ate from. In French, the word manger means "to eat."

Here was the Son of God lying in essentially a large dinner bowl. In the middle of a barn. Surrounded by animals and their smells and their waste. Not a royal entry. But very earthly. Which is the point of Christmas--God came and dwelt amongst us.

But the eating aspect of the manger made me wonder if it was meant as foreshadowing of the crucifixion. More exactly of the Last Supper. Jesus offers up the bread and the wine to His followers telling them to eat and drink. Telling them to continue doing that after He us gone in remembrance of Him. Telling them to be thankful. And telling them that it is His flesh and blood they must consume.

It's a bit gruesome and cannibalistic to the outsider. Theologians have many interpretations regarding communion. But I think it largely comes down to letting Jesus be our sustenance. Feeding on Him--His words, His love, His example.

Christmas is often a time of coming together to feast. With my grandpa and grandma it was Swedish foods like potato bologna, lutefisk, rye bread, oostakaka, and other things we only saw at Christmas.

Eating is spiritual. It is communal. It is human. It is nourishing. It is life.

The same things can be said of faith and Jesus. Jesus: the God who came to earth to walk alongside us, showing us His love for us and how to love others. The one whose birth we celebrate the Christmas. The one born in a manger.

So feast. Love has come to feed us all.