Just a quick wish for my blogging friends to have a blessed, peaceful 3rd Sunday of the Advent Season.
This thought by Martin Luther brought to mind another quote I read this week which asks:
Are you going to a comfortable “Western” church where they are doing a lovely job of serving the saved and ignoring everyone else?
As we enter our churches this Christmas, climate-controlled unless the heater makes things too stuffy and we complain, decorated impeccably, with our family dressed up so nicely, clean and wrinkle-free, matching outfits and bows in the girls’ hair … do we realize Jesus came to us in the humblest of circumstances? As we place our manger scenes out, it doesn’t smell like a barn even though the animals are present; Joseph and Mary are dressed in their clean robes; and the baby Jesus lays on a bed of pure straw or cloth, I wonder was it really that sterile? Was the first Christmas – with its bright, shining, guiding star – as pristine as we want it to seem?? Was Mary tired, exhausted, in pain? Was Joseph perhaps frustrated, scared, concerned? Most of us give birth in hospitals or even our homes, but in an non-sterile barn, a stable?? And yet, God used the dirtiest, most dire of circumstances to bring His Son to us! There were no wreaths adorning the stable – no Christmas tree lighting up the night … just a humble place for humble people – a poor couple, simple shepherds, and farm animals.
While I don’t think it is wrong to dress up, decorate, give gifts, and enjoy the beauty of Christmas by any means … my family does all these things … I also hope I never lose sight of those who are in humble, dire circumstances … and even if it is just a few dollars donated to the Salvation Army to help the less fortunate or feeding folks at a homeless shelter or visiting the forgotten at the nursing home; there are still those can’t dress up, decorate, or give gifts – in fact, they may be dirty, smell bad, and look a mess. Jesus came to them as well. This is the time to share His love, His birth – in the lovely, clean, decorated church sanctuary – but also among the humble, the poor and needy. Which is how Jesus came to us on earth in the first place – in the stable of Bethlehem.
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