Taste and see that the Lord is good -Psalm 34:8a
Blasphemy warning: I’m about to compare the Christ Child to a burrito.
But oh, what a burrito. I’d pay triple the price for one. Actually they just call it “a tortilla”. The one I had for breakfast a week ago was stuffed with mushrooms, cheese, eggs, beans, and onions. And topped with a special hot sauce. Here’s what it looked like.
The thing is significantly bigger than your head. And the taste makes you want to shout “Rejoice! Rejoice!”
You’ll have to drive down to Port Isabel, TX, to eat one of these marvels. And you’d better bring cash. And no attitude. And an open mind. Because Manuel’s is pretty much a hole in the wall.
Here’s what it looks like inside.
The floors are rough and uneven. The walls are covered in posters for old 70’s movies, like “The Godfather” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, along with pictures of Manuel’s family, especially grandkids who are athletes or cheerleaders. From the ceiling hangs pennants of college and NFL football teams. It has a strange man-cave charm to it.
But let’s come back to the tortillas, or as I call them, “the Reason for the Seasoning”?
Beyond delicious. I’ve been coming down to this place (adjacent to S. Padre Island) for maybe 15 years or so. Things change down on the South Texas coast, but Manuels stays the same, like a dear friend waiting with open arms.
If I’m describing this Hole In The Wall as if it were a Holy Place, there’s a reason. Somehow, despite the rundown conditions, Manuels just feels special. I’m not the only one sharing that sentiment. I know because of the walls. Any place not touched by a poster or a picture bears the signature of someone who’s been there.
Hundreds of signatures fill up the walls, with folks from across the country (and beyond, I’m sure), making their mark. My signature is there, somewhere, from years ago. I don’t remember where, but I know I’ve gone on record as a fellow pilgrim to Manuels.
Now, if your mouth is watering, and you feel the need to road trip down to South Texas for breakfast this week, let me know and maybe I’ll join you. But I hope that, as this Advent season begins, you are feeling an even more powerful pull towards the manger.
The accommodations that night in Bethlehem were lousy. The décor? Non existent. It was, perhaps, a hole in the wall. But something Truly Holy draws us in to that cattle stall. It is an encounter with Someone that makes it worth this journey.
We are called to be counted amongst the millions who pay homage to the Child. To write our name on the walls of the stable. To tell the world that we were there. To proclaim that God is here.
And so, in spite of my love for Manuel (he’s a great guy), it cannot compare to my love for Emmanuel. And as much as I want you all to get a taste of that amazing food, it is eclipsed by my desire that you experience the All Powerful Love of Jesus.
Christ is, indeed, more than a burrito, and even more to be savored. Taste and see that the Lord is good. He will nourish you long after December 25th…
with zero chance of indigestion.
Have a great week,