The Manger of My Heart
Today a devotion I wrote was featured on Crosswalk and the Proverbs 31 site. In it I described a time a few years ago when I found myself sitting in my bedroom closet Christmas afternoon feeling sad. Although I had what I wanted for Christmas - a house full of gifts, family and food - my heart felt empty. That day I read the story of Jesus' birth in a whole new light, and in the years that followed this prayer was birthed in my heart. Will you pray these words with me this month as we prepare a place for Him in the manger of our hearts and homes this Christmas?

The Manger of My Heart
This Christmas, Lord, come to the manger of my heart.

Fill me with your presence, from the very start.

As I prepare for the holidays, and gifts to be given,

Remind me of the gift You gave,

when you sent Your Son from Heaven.

The first Christmas gift, the greatest gift ever,
You came as a baby born in a manger.

Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree,

Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me.

This Christmas, Lord, come to the manger of my heart.
Search me and know the most intimate parts.

Reveal to me if I have ever hung a sign within,

Claiming it off limits, implying “no room at the Inn.”

Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus’ birth,
He left the riches of Heaven
and wrapped Himself in rags of earth.

Emmanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night.

As angels announced, “Into your darkness,
God brings His Light.”

“Do not be afraid,” they said, to shepherds in the field.
Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield.

Make me like those shepherd boys, obedient to your call.

Casting distractions and worries aside,
to You I surrender them all.

Surround me with Your presence, Lord,
I long to hear your voice.

Clear my mind of concerns and all the holiday noise.

Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush.

In the midst of parties and planning,
I want to feel Your hush.

This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart.
Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part.

Dwell within and around me,
as I unwrap Your presence each day.

Keep me close to You, Jesus.

It’s in your wonderful Name I pray.

© 2003,
Renee Swope ~

Feel free to share this prayer by copying and pasting it into another document. All I ask is that you please include the copyright and my website.


Blogger Ronda said...

Thank you, thank you for your prayer.

Anonymous Nellie said...

I'm so able to relate to this devotional and prayer in fact I've been experiencing these same feelings and still struggle with it daily. I've been confronted with feelings of loneliness and emptiness. This Christmas won't be full with presents due to a recent loss of income and much catching up that needs to be done but I need HIS presence. I realized after reading ur devotional, I asked the Lord, "Is it ur presence I lack, is that the emptiness I feel?" Then I soon began to pray, "Lord fill me with ur presence that I might be able to face anything that happens next." He's slowly working on all the hurt and sadness and all the emptiness. I desire to have family around and all the "things" that make the Holidays meaningful but most of all I know that without God's presence nothing will matter. Thank you allowing the Lord to touch u to write your own personal experience through this devotional and prayer. It is a refreshing drink to those of us still experiencing this today.

Anonymous Sandy said...

While reading your devotional I started to smile, knowing that I had these exact same feelings this past Thanksgiving. Wanting all to be perfect, wanting all the be grateful for my efforts. When the day was over I felt lost and alone. I am sure that this Christmas would be no different without coming across your devotional today. I am so thankful for your prayer and experience. God is speaking to me through you! I thank you both!

Anonymous Carol said...

As women responsible for our families and homes, I think we often place too much stress on ourselves to be perfect. I think this is especially true during the holidays. Thank you for reminding us that our focus should not be on us but on the One for whom we celebrate Christmas.

Blogger Digging for Pearls said...

Thank you for this sweet prayer and reminder of what the season is truly about. It was an encouragement to me. May God richly bless you!

Blogger angelonwheels said...

I love your poem! I also write poetry. I will bookmark your blog!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Renee, thank you for today's devotional, I think you wrote this especially for me, you are my angel that God sent for me.

Merry Christmas,


Blogger MrsProverbs31 said...

What a wonderful revelation you received. I've never thought of unwrapping Jesus that way. I'm going to share your prayer and your story with my writer's group this Saturday.

But, I want you to know that I've been blessed with your poem/prayer and your devotional piece.

God bless you.


Blogger Lelia Chealey said...

Thanks for sharing from your heart. I loved the devotional you had where your husband wanted colored lights & you went into the closet & read the story of Jesus. I love how you knock down the pedestal that anyone may try to put you on & show your "real" heart. For so many years I have robbed my kids & hubby of a Christ-centered celebrations. In September or October, it's easy to say I'm going to focus on Jesus during the holidays, but through reading the blogs I'm learning some great tools to help me do just that. Loved your prayer. Thanks for sharing.
Many Blessings,

Anonymous Tammy said...

I can't even TELL you how much I needed that this morning. Your Unwrapping His Christmas Presence devotion Was EXACTLY what I needed.

I am a white light girl too, my husband has control over the yard which by the way looks like the Griswalds! I am such a control person. I will read your message over and over and over again to help me get to my soul and not the outside lights. Thank you so much for your words of honesty!


Blogger "Miss" Clair said...

Thank you for sharing the gift God has given in writing. I was blessed by your poem and hope others will be blessed too. I plan to print it and roll it and wrap it with a pretty bow for my neighbors and friends. Thank you again for sharing. I am enjoying your website.

Anonymous kris said...

What a beautiful poem. It is just what I needed to be reminded of. To slow down and really take in the gift of Jesus.

Blogger Jill said...

Thank you for this prayer. I wish I would have seen it sooner, but no time like the present to make a change. Merry Christmas!!

Blogger Chris said...

Thank you for the prayer. It's so beautiful. It is wonderful of you to share it with everyone. That is a gift. God Bless and Merry Christmas.

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