A Stable Start
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Imagine the sweet smell of fresh hay wafting through the cozy closeness of the most famous stable in human history. Instead of the lonely and wide open road on a cold and clear night, there is both a warmth and a comforting reassurance that comes even from the presence of barnyard animals housed within, in spite of their shuffling hooves and snuffling noses.
A young woman enters the scene, a little lady who has been chosen by God to bear into the world His Incarnated Word. Supported and cared for by her loving husband, she settles down perhaps with something that is a little like a sigh as she resigns herself to her surroundings. Yet, into this humble and gentle beginning, the Ancient of Days intersects the mortal with His divinity, the temporal with the eternal, the common with the holy.
But it isn’t such an unreasonable postulation… that of God Almighty allowing His Son to be born in such crude circumstances. Maybe we feel that if WE had been in the Father’s shoes, we would have arranged for Jesus to be born in a palace… or at least a Holiday Inn Express. Certainly we would not have condescended to His amazing and wonderful arrival taking place in a barn!
Yet… God chose to do just that. Don’t think for a moment that God was caught off guard by the fact that all the rooms of Bethlehem had filled up: the little Savior was NOT born in a stable because His Dad simply forgot to get a reservation for when they arrived in town.
There truly was, in a sense, “condescension” (God “DESCENDED to be WITH us”). It wasn’t in His being born in a stable, but was rather in His leaving the glory and light of heaven to come into the shadowy dominion of the mundane. Even if He had been born in a dazzlingly glorious palace, it would been so far beneath what He had always known in heaven that it would doubtlessly have been laughable to all of heaven’s citizens who were “in the know”, seeing how the best of human effort compared to the majestic and awesome mansions of heaven.
Yet, when the angels came and announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds who “tended their flocks by night” (Luke 2:8), they did not laugh. They sang. Their eyes were not drawn to what tends to draw our eyes. Whether baby Jesus was born in a stable or in the house of Herod the Great or even Caesar Augustus was of no consequence to them. It was enough that He entered the world.
No… His coming to earth in a stable stall was about cutting through human frivolity and getting straight to the matter of connecting the mercy of God to the need of ALL humanity. Unthinkable in any typically worldly sense is the goodness of God. It isn’t just for the “rich”… it isn’t just for the “religious”… it is for anyone who turns in truth from his or her own waywardness, seeks the incomprehensible forgiveness of God, and embraces God’s will for trusting and holy faithfulness in our lives.
“Born in a stable
...So that all might be able
......To receive His amazing love!
And slain on a tree
...So that we also might be
......Given hope of heaven above!”
“In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find the Child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom He favors!’ When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them” (Luke 2:8-20 RSV).
Allow the message of Christmas to pierce the night of your own soul and bring the dawn of God’s grace into your life. Seek the Savior Who came and died so that all men and women everywhere – including you – who will turn to Him in faith might be forgiven and released from the bondage of sin and given the gift of eternity.
Copyright © Thom Mollohan.
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Beautiful anointed piece Pastor Thom! So much Wisdom and insight to the mysteries of God's Ways! A awesome article!!! Amen,EMMANUEL came to the earth to dwell amongst men,and One Glorious Day The Son of God will return! Merry CHRISTmas to you and your family!
Beautiful Tom, I love your title as well. We must be very careful today to not let the cares of this life crowd him out, where He has no room in our heart. May you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas. In His love, Sharon