Was the manger so bad?
Clearly Joseph and Mary would have preferred to spend what turned out to be the birth night in a nicer place than a stable. It would have been pretty smelly, probably dirty too with vermin and fleas dancing around – not too nice! However, since that was all they could muster on the night, they adjusted their expectations and, as it turned out it set the scene for a superb evening. If baby Jesus and three kings can all have a bit of a party in a manger then let’s worry less about where we live, what we drive and other external considerations.
Many marriages are ruined by the compelling drive for more and better possessions. No-one on their death bed (which by the way is where we all end up) has been heard to say “I do wish I had spent more time making sure all our iPods or TVs were the latest and greatest technological epiphany”. Not one bit. In the final act, it’s time spent hanging out, having fun with loved ones which makes for a peaceful departure. That and a sense of moving on from this life to the next with a sense of purpose. So, if you are coming under pressure to spend more, worry more or strive more. My advice is to consider the manger, and live more simply.