The Truth That Lay in a Manger

by Crystal Paine December 12, 2023
“And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Mark 2:17 (ESV)

As a biological and foster parent, I can confirm that birthing and caring for babies is beautiful and wonderful … and also often messy and tiring.

On many a day, I’ve thought of what it must have been like for Mary, Jesus’ mother. Just because she was carrying and caring for the only perfect person to ever walk this earth doesn’t mean He didn’t make messes or exhaust her like other babies would.

In the thick of diapers, bottles and spit-up, I’ve found it a little amusing to see Christmas cards and Bible story pictures showing a clean, mud-free, poop-free stable with Mary looking put-together and angelic after birthing baby Jesus. I’m quite confident that couldn't have been further from reality. In fact, I’m pretty sure we've tried to sanitize parts of the Christmas story.

Think about it: The inn was packed full, which probably meant the stable was packed full of people’s stinky, dirty animals. It was likely loud. And messy. And just about the last place you’d want to be birthing or caring for a newborn.

And yet that’s the beauty of it.

Jesus could have been born in a clean, luxurious palace to a wealthy woman of great means. But instead, the King of kings left heaven and all its glory to be born to an unassuming virgin in the middle of a dirty, noisy, smelly, packed stable.

Why? Because Jesus didn’t come to this earth for those who are healed, whole and good. As Jesus Himself said during His earthly ministry, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (ESV).

The gospel is for sinners.
For those whose hearts are wounded and hurting.
For those who feel like they've made too many mistakes to be forgiven.
For those who feel like their lives are chaotic and messy.
For those who feel like they're too messed up.

This is what the Christmas story is about. This is the Truth that lay in a manger all those years ago.

You don’t have to get your act together to come to Jesus. You don’t have to sanitize your story or pretend you are perfect to come to Jesus. He wants you to come as you are.

Lord, thank You for leaving the glories of heaven to come down to this messy and broken earth because of Your love for me. Help me to come to You just as I am today — with all of my struggles and stresses — and to find my rest and hope in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


We can notice God's goodness even when we're waiting for God's answer. At Proverbs 31 Ministries, we want to help you see the Lord’s presence in the small moments of your day. By partnering with us, you make it possible for us to provide specific scriptures and prayers that will comfort the woman who feels like God has forgotten her. Will you help us continue to provide free biblical resources to you and other women like you by donating today? Click here to give now.



If you’re a parent who struggles with stress and guilt that you’re messing up your kids, Crystal Paine’s book Love-Centered Parenting will encourage you with practical ideas for how to parent with calmness and confidence as you rest in God’s love for you and live out of that love with your kids.



To connect with Crystal and see behind the scenes of her very real and not perfect life as an adoptive and biological mom of six kids (college aged to toddler), follow her on Instagram.

If you’re a frazzled or tired mom, you’ll especially enjoy Crystal’s free challenge: “10 Days To Be a Happier Mom.” Sign up to receive it today!


2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (ESV).

How does it impact you to know that Jesus left the glory of heaven to come to earth to save and heal those who are brokenhearted?

What struggles and stresses do you need to bring to the Lord instead of trying to handle and carry them in your own strength? Share with us in the comments!

© 2023 by Crystal Paine. All rights reserved.

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