Feeding from the Manger

Tumamee_with_chickensOn a recent trip to Liberia, I was up at the poultry farm visiting our farm manager, Tumamee. I observed him thoroughly washing the water drinkers and carefully cleaning the pens. I noted a gentleness and sincere love for these birds and how they, in some subtle yet uniquely feathered fashion, seemed to recognize him as their caretaker. The most obvious was during feeding time. The chickens rushed the door in excitement as Tumamee entered with his bucket of morning grub to appease their avian appetites. They fed furiously from their troughs, many switching from one to the next, never recognizing that each feeder had exactly the same menu offering.

As a wannabe farmer I’ve learned the recipe for chicken feed must be altered to accommodate changing nutritional requirements as the birds develop from chicks to mature laying hens. The wrong ingredients not only affect their health but can also negatively impact both quality and quantity of eggs laid.

You and I are more like frenzied fowl than we care to admit. We go from one fad to the next; one spiritual guru, self-help book and self-actualizing blog to another, looking for the right “feed”. Most can temporarily fill our stomachs but are nutritionally lacking, can not sustain us, and may adversely affect our lives.

I guess it’s fitting that Jesus was born in a manger — a literal feeding trough. He invites us to feed on him through his word and sacraments. As our loving caretaker he says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry…” He not only offers himself but does so knowing our hungering souls will ingest the proper mix of ingredients and go away fully satisfied.

Perhaps this Advent season among the preparations for Christmas, we should reevaluate our spiritual eating habits, alter our diets, and nourish our souls by acknowledging the Bread of Life who came as a baby in a hay-filled feeding trough. I pray you get as excited as our Liberian chickens at the anticipation of this meal and pull a seat up to his table. Take time away from the worldly feeding frenzy and indulge in some “heart-healthy soul food” this Christmas.

PS. You can support both spiritual nutrition and physical school lunch meals for our students in Liberia by following this link to our “Christmas in Liberia Gift Catalog… click here.  Thanks.

3 thoughts on “Feeding from the Manger

  1. Beautifully said…are you sure you never went to seminary? You carry a better message than many preachers. Advent blessings.


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