Again, I know that it’s several days after Christmas, but I wanted to share a few more thoughts about the Christmas story and how it relates to us. Today, I wanted to focus on the cattle in the Christmas story.
“Then they wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger.”
The cattle are a very overlooked character in the Christmas story. Luke 2 says that after Jesus was born, that they laid him in a manger to sleep since there was no room for them to sleep anywhere. Although you’re probably all aware, a manger is where an animal’s owner would place its food. Most people probably assume that this manger was already full of hay for the animals to eat so it made a decently soft bed for Jesus to sleep on.
I want to focus on the cattle this week because, although this might be going a little far, they had to give up their food in order to give Jesus a place to sleep. If Jesus is sleeping on their hay and in their “food bowl,” then they can’t eat it. They sacrificed their own physical needs in order to provide a physical need for someone else.
Just like the homelessness I talked about last time, hunger is a huge problem in the United States. According to Feeding America, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating hunger and poverty in America, over 37 million Americans are currently considered “food insecure.” * Of those 37 million, over 11 million were children (feedingamerica.org).
You may think that these statistics only apply to big cities with big city problems. However, the food insecurity rate in Medina County, according to The Akron Canton Regional Foodbank, sits at 9.7%. That means that here in Medina County, one out of every 10 persons has limited or uncertain access to enough nutritional food to support a healthy lifestyle. That percentage, when translated to a hard number, is 17,060 individuals who are food insecure here in our own community. 6,560 of those individuals are children who do not have the means to support themselves at all (akroncantonfoodbank.org).
It’s hard to imagine being food insecure if you’ve never been food insecure before. If 9.7% of Medina County is food insecure, it means that 90.3% is not. So the vast majority of us don’t know what it feels like to be unsure of where our next meal is coming from or if it is coming at all.
So this Christmas, as we focus on the cattle in the story of the birth of Christ, try to put yourselves into the shoes of someone who struggles with hunger. So much around the holidays is focused on food. And don’t hear this wrong. Food is good. God gave us food to enjoy as well as provide nourishment. However, I would ask that as you try to empathize with being hungry, that you would consider a non-profit or food bank that helps alleviate it. There is so much good that you can do.
* Being food insecure is defined as a household that has limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life.
“Facts About Hunger and Poverty in America.” Feeding America, Feeding America, https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/facts.
“Hunger in Medina County.” Akron Canton Foodbank, Akron Canton Foodbank, 3 May 2018, https://www.akroncantonfoodbank.org/hunger-medina-county.
Article originally posted on Northside Christian Church’s website. For the full article and to find out more about how Northside helps to alleviate its community’s hunger problem, head to http://www.northsideweb.org/assistance or just click here