I have been thinking this week about that first Christmas, so long ago.
The people had been awaiting their Messiah for a very long time. It had been 400 years since God had spoken to His people.
On that first Christmas there must have been a great deal of stress. Imagine Joseph, all stressed out because he had to travel to Bethlehem with his very pregnant wife for the purposes of registering for a census. Having the government demand such a thing alone is enough to have someone all stressed out. Add to that the long journey, the fear of bandits, the fear of Mary delivering her child somewhere along the way, and then once they arrive, and they breathe a small breath of relief......more fear and stress, there is no room, no room anywhere, and frantically Joseph seeks somewhere, someplace for them to stay.
He finds a stable.
I think it might be fairly safe to assume that since Bethlehem was packed to the gills, the stable was pretty packed too. Oxen and donkeys most likely, as horses were not that common for the average person back then. The staff at the inn was probably stretched pretty thin, so the stable would be the last place to receive any attention. I imagine it smelled fairly ripe.
It is probably also safe to assume that the crowds of people, the innkeeper, the staff and pretty much everyone were living in a state of stress. There was a lot to do, the people visiting would be nervous, they traveled far, because their government demanded it, there would be uncertainty, there would be stress over money, people spending more than they could really afford, there would be people who had spent all and were now wondering how they were going to eat and of course the people who lived there would be thinking up every kind of scheme possible to make some cash off of all these people pouring in.
Into this mess of humanity, into a stinking stable, filled with livestock, came the Lord of everything.
He who created all things, steps into the clay He created, clothes Himself with flesh, steps away from majesty and glory, into abject mire and misery.
He comes not as a strong and mighty man, He comes not as a giant, He comes as a tiny helpless baby. He comes from the womb of a virgin girl. The first breath these lungs of flesh take in, filled with the reek of animal waste.
God became flesh. God became a man, fully God, fully man. He breathed, he hungered, he felt pain…….He was as you and as I. God did that! Why in the world would the eternal, majestic and holy God of all creation want to stoop down to our level?
The Bible tells us that God so loved us that He gave His only Son. He loved me and you enough to leave glory and walk in filth, to live amongst broken and sinful people, to die upon the most devious instrument of torture known to man, to endure the sins of the world, my sins and your sins, heaped upon His perfect soul.
If He loved enough to do that, do you think He does not care for us now? Do you think He does not see our suffering, our sorrows, do you think He cares not for the things you endure here?
Think about it……..the Lord of glory, the One who created all things, the One who created you, stepped out of glory into all our stinking mess, to redeem us! That’s how much we mean to Him.
So no matter what is going on around you, no matter the sorrows your heart is carrying today, I say that if your heart belongs to Him, rejoice, rejoice, and rejoice. Cause everything is going to be okay…..in fact it’s gonna be more than okay.
heart melts at the love of Jesus,
my brother, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh,
married to me, dead for me, risen for me;
He is mine and I am His,
given to me as well as for me;
I am never so much mine as when I am His,
or so much lost to myself until lost in Him;
then I find my true self.
But my love is frost and cold, ice and snow;
Let His love warm me,
lighten my burden,
be my heaven;
May it be more revealed to me in all its influences
that my love to Him may be more fervent
Let the mighty tide of His everlasting love
cover the rocks of my sin and care;
Then let my spirit float above those things
which had else wrecked my life.
Make me fruitful by living to that love,
my character becoming more beautiful every day.
If traces of Christ’s love-artistry be upon me,
may He work on with His divine brush
until the complete image be obtained
and I be made a perfect copy of Him,
May your Christmas be blessed. Hope has come, Peace has come, Joy has come, and Love has come. CHRIST HAS COME!
"It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!"... Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!" ~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ~Charles Dickens”
“Fail not to call to mind, in the course of the twenty-fifth of this month, that the Divinest Heart that ever walked the earth was born on that day; and then smile and enjoy yourselves for the rest of it; for mirth is also of Heaven's making. ~Leigh Hunt”