"Reimagining the Manger" - Kenna Ledbetter

The Christmas story… we know it well, and we welcome it’s hope. A community of the poor and wealthy, animal and human coming together to celebrate a new life of promise for all. I love the Christmas story. So, how does this beautiful story of hope enter the reflective season of Lent? Consider seeing this account from a different perspective: A family who made do with sleeping under a roof for animals, and a trough for a newborn as subpar housing was their only choice left.

Far too often this sight of desperate housing is not a strange one for families and individuals in Los Angeles. In our city, it has become a norm for families to find shelter in their cars as skyrocketing rent forces them out. Larger families find themselves renting moving trucks to secure enough space to sleep in overnight; even businesses like hair salons find pity, much like the inn owner did on Mary and Joseph and offer their walk-in storage closets after-hours to people in need.

For Angelinos, housing is the most urgent cry of our city. The vision of the Christmas story is now an all too real image being felt around Los Angeles.


How then, do we pray for people facing the crisis of housing in our community? We pray with our eyes and ears. Let your eyes meet with the eyes of the person holding a cardboard sign and resist the urge to turn away from seeing them. Ask people in need what their name is. Learn about organizations in the community engaging in the help that’s needed. And if you’re brave, ask God to show you how He can use you to care for your neighbors in desperate need of decent housing.

Luke 2:12 “This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”

About the Author:
Kenna works for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles located in the city of Bellflower. She is Habitat LA's Faith Relations Manager supporting affordable housing throughout the city.