Tom Elliff
Oklahoma City, OK

After pastoring for forty-two years, Tom Elliff served the International Mission Board, first as Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and Church Relations from 2005-2009, then as President from 2011-2014. Tom served pastorates in Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma and as an IMB missionary in Zimbabwe. Tom also served as president of the SBC Pastor's Conference and two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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Meditations At The Manger

By on December 5, 2016

Ask people to name their one outstanding mental picture of Christmas and the manger scene recorded in Luke 2:7 is mentioned most often. It was there in Bethlehem, over two thousand years ago, that Christ, who nine months earlier had embedded Himself in Mary’s womb, was brought into this world as a baby; God was, in flesh, now on display for the entire world to see.

The amazing thing about our Lord’s birth is the humble circumstance in which it took place. Yet no other birth was ever accompanied by heaven’s chorus, nor was it in fulfillment of so many prophecies during the thousands of years that preceded it.  But wrapped in shreds of cloth and placed in a feeding trough! How could this be a proper setting for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

“And she (Mary) brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).

Stand with me beside that manger for a moment and meditate on the significance of what you see.

There was no room…and this concerns me.

Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Judea…indeed the entire Roman Empire was caught up in the feverish activity of a census. There was talk of little else. And we have our own equivalents. Maybe it is not a census but an election, or just the whirlwind of activity surrounding our lives. So much to do and so little time!

Have you pushed Jesus into one of your life’s forgotten corners?

*There was no room… and this comforts me.

I have a Savior (and so do you) who identifies with me. Most of the world’s population will never know unbridled adulation or acclaim, and never have the privilege of a limitless bank account. My Savior understands that! That is how the bulk of His thirty-three years was lived…among the common folks.

Are you aware that Jesus understands and identifies with you?

*There was no room…and this convicts me.

It is one thing for a godless society to have no room for the Messiah, whether in schedule, setting priorities, or spending. But where is the corner into which I have crowded Jesus?

Does everyone around you know that Christ is preeminent in your life?

*There was no room…and this challenges me.

How might I make room for Jesus…in my heart, my home, and my hurried schedule? I can (and should) still seize this moment to reorder carelessly established priorities.

Will you make Christ first in your plans, expenditures and intentions?

If not…then, once again, there will be no room for Jesus.

Rejoice evermore!
Tom Elliff
2 Tim 1:12