Think Outside the Manger

Think Outside the Manger

Welcome to Think Outside the Manger

Welcome to Think Outside the Manger, an Advent devotional series created by the members of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church.

What is Advent?

Advent is the four-week season leading to Christmas day. For centuries, faithful Christians have experienced Advent as a rich time of preparation, expectation, and hope. The word “advent” itself derives from the Latin adventus, meaning “arrival” or “coming.” Whose arrival are we expecting, exactly? If you say the baby Jesus and the celebration of Christmas, you’re half right.

The truth is, Advent isn’t about the past. It’s about the future. Yes, that baby came two millennia ago and forever changed human history, but history isn’t done with us yet . . . and neither is God. To celebrate Advent is to admit that we—and all creation with us—are works in progress. We are not yet what we will one day be. And so, without shame or fear, we await the return of the One who will finish what God has started and bring us to our completion: Jesus, the Christ of God.

Why is this devotional called “Think Outside the Manger?”

If Advent is supposed to be more than Christmas' awkward cousin, maybe we need to think outside the manger a bit.

Don’t get us wrong. We love the manger. We love baby Jesus. We love the whole Christmas thing, and we’ll celebrate it like crazy at St. Anne’s when the evening of December 24 rolls around. But if Advent is supposed to be more than Christmas’ awkward cousin, maybe we need to think outside the manger a bit. Instead of rehashing all the old familiar stories of donkeys, stars, and swaddling clothes, perhaps we need to spend some real time looking for Christ in the here-and-now . . . and in the days to come.

The reflections in this daily Advent devotion will have little to do with the manger. Sure, there may be a passing reference to the Christchild. Mary and Joseph may get a shout-out. But by and large, this is a devotional about looking, waiting, and hoping for Christ in this world, at this time.

How does Think Outside the Manger work?

The best way to enjoy Think Outside the Manger is to receive it by email. Sign up here, and beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, a near-daily devotion will arrive in your inbox through Christmas Eve. Devotions will include scripture, a brief reflection written by a St. Anne’s member, and a poem, photo, video, or piece of music to enjoy. Encourage others to subscribe.

Rather not receive them by email? No problem. You can view entries via the archive to the right.