Have you ever thought about who owned the manger? I mean we know the owner of the Inn said there was no room there. No vacancy. Imagine traveling to a town in the winter, riding on a donkey when you are 9 months pregnant, being jostled about and tired to the bone. There is no McDonalds to ride through. No convenience store for a Red Bull. Then there is no room. Nowhere to lay your head and you are going into labor.
But wait. Someone offers you shelter in a place with a manger. Perhaps it was a rustic wooden stable, a cave, or a part of the house where animals were kept*. It was out of the wind and cold. Maybe there was fresh straw to sleep in and smells of animals wafting in the air. And the manger? It was a feeding trough which Mary used as a cradle. The rest is history.
What would have happened if this person hadn’t offered his manger? If he hadn’t taken pity on those poor travelers and given them a place to stay?
Gift giving at Christmas has a long tradition. In all the hoopla of gift buying we sometimes lose sight of what Christmas is about. It’s the celebration of the birth of a Manifestation of God. And the gifts? Well, the Magi offered gifts to their Lord. Frankincense (Boswelia), Myrrh and Incense which were used for blessings and for healing. An offering of care and concern for the health and future of the mother and Child. No Nintendo, no iPads, no toys, no paintings, even.
So, today I think of what kind of gifts would Christ want for us and I think it would be a world of peace, free from the carnage of conflict. A world in which we can all live with each other in tolerance and harmony, pursuing our individual dreams for ourselves and our families, and encouraging others in theirs. A world free of hunger and thirst, where the pursuit of health leads to the pursuit of happiness. These are all gifts we can give each other.
We sometimes feel overwhelmed or hopeless to change the world around us for the better. The forces at play seem so vast and mighty and we sometimes feel incapable of effecting change. But now we can do something.
Recently I became aware of an effort to bring one such gift to the world. The gift of pure, clean water. Clean air, water, and food are the foundation for health and health is a foundation for prosperity.
Some 663 million people in the world live in areas where clean water still does not gush forth from a spigot. Where water has to be hauled on foot over many miles, often by women and children. Where the water is a little brown and smells.
But this is changing.
Scott Harrison has spent the past ten years bringing clean water to those in need around the world. So far his organization, CharityWater.org has brought clean drinking water to millions of people. But there is a long way to go.
In this age of global warming, we are seeing drought and fires in areas that previously had plentiful water. We are seeing the increase in hurricanes and flooding elsewhere. But even in places which have always had enough water, that water has not always been drinkable. It’s the 21st century. How can we accept this?
Please watch this video to learn more. It only takes a few minutes.
I invite you to join with me this holiday season to support this effort to bring clean water to everyone around the globe. You can give once, make a monthly donation or sponsor a community. Even if you aren’t able to contribute monetarily, please help to spread the word so that others may.
We can each be that owner of the manger who offers help and hope to a stranger. Who knows what other wonderful things might come as a result?
As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats. Together we can raise this tide.
I wish you all the happiest of holidays and all the best for a healthy and happy new year.
ps: If you don’t have time to watch the whole video, here’s the cheat sheet.
3:15 l When Scott decided to turn his life around. 7:46 l Why water? 9:50 l Our core values & the beginning of charity: water. 12:19 l Give up your birthday. 12:50 | Rachel’s story. 17:35 l Together, we can end the global water crisis.