In 2024, Have “Manger Vision”

We know that when God was born among us there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:7). As we enter a new year, will we make room for Him?

Research shows that only 9% of Americans end up keeping their New Year’s Resolutions. As human beings, we know that we can be better and that we should be better, but it is difficult to follow through with our commitments. Being better is tough. It takes focus and commitment. There is nothing more important than resolving and committing to becoming closer to God in 2024. To do that we need “manger vision.”

I spent most of this Advent focusing on the manger scene. When I pray in the morning and before bed I usually spend time staring at a crucifix. This helps to keep my attention on what Jesus has done for me and it reminds me of my own mortality. It also shows me the definition of love. That the God of the universe believed that I was worth dying for.

However, this Advent I made the decision to contemplate the manger scene every time I was inclined to stare at the crucifix. I did not know what to expect. At first, it was difficult. Slowly, but surely something began to happen though. I began to see Mary and Joseph as the key players in the scene and I began to see how their journey and experience speaks to my practical life. I began to crave manger vision.

All figures in a manger scene are fixed in one direction. They cannot move. Their entire purpose is to look for and look at God. They cannot help it, they were made to stare at and be fascinated with the presence of Christ. This was the actual life of Mary and Joseph.

Mary was given a message that radically changed the trajectory of her life. She was a teenager and she was married but she was also pregnant with a child that was not her husband’s. Despite this challenge, she says yes. She has no idea what the future will bring. Mary knows, however, that if she does say yes she is guaranteed that God will always be with her. I began to more fully desire to be like her. To not be so concerned with the details of the future at home or work. I began to see that committing to my responsibilities made me become like Mary. It allowed me to have more room for Christ when he came at Christmas.

I know that as another uncertain year comes I need to remember this also. We all have trials coming towards us in our homes and careers (let alone the country and world). There is so much that is unknown. In 2024 we must be like Mary and say yes to being faithful even though we do not know exactly what the future will bring. All we can be certain of is that God is with us intimately and powerfully.

I was especially drawn to Joseph this Advent. Particularly, I was captivated by the fact that life was not as he expected it to be. He was married to a woman whom he loved and she became pregnant with the Son of God. He could have never known that he would have to raise the Messiah, the King of Kings. Joseph also had to journey with his pregnant wife to Bethlehem and  upon arrival he could not get them a room for her delivery. God was born in an animal shelter and then he had to flee to a foreign country to protect him and Mary. At every turn, Joseph’s life was not as expected.

So many of us can experience the same thing. Maybe your career is not where you thought it would be at this stage. Maybe your kids are struggling and you do not know what to do. Maybe life is more mundane than you had hoped for. Whatever life has brought you choose to be like Joseph – trust in what God has given you. That is what he taught me this Advent and that is what I know I need to focus on in 2024.

No matter what may come this year, respond in faith and devotion like Joseph and Mary – have manger vision. I know I need to be more devoted to God and his infinite love for me. In this new year, let us make room for Him through a strong commitment to daily prayer above everything else. Doing so will make us focused on the One that is always with us and the One that cannot help but stare at us in love.


Image courtesy of Unsplash.

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