3. Advent

Just a quick wish for my blogging friends to have a blessed, peaceful 3rd Sunday of the Advent Season.

I leave you with a thought/quote from Martin Luther – from one of his Christmas sermons.  As relevant today – in 2011 – as it was then in the early 1500’s, in my opinion:
“The inn was full. No one would release a room to this pregnant woman. She had to go to a cow stall and there bring forth the Maker of all creatures because nobody would give way. Shame on you, wretched Bethlehem! The inn ought to have been burned with brimstone, for even though Mary had been a beggar maid or unwed, anybody at such a time would have been glad to give her a hand.
There are many of you in this congregation who think to yourselves: “If only I had been there! How quick I would have been to help the baby! I would have washed his linen! How happy I would have been to go with the shepherds to see the Lord lying in the manger!” Yes you would! You say that because you know how great Christ is, but if you had been there at that time you would have done no better than the people of Bethlehem. Childish and silly thoughts are these! Why don’t you do it now? You have Christ in your neighbor. You ought to serve him, for what you do to your neighbor in need you do to the Lord Christ himself.”

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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4 Responses to 3. Advent

  1. amen! what a beautiful post..Have a blessed week..loves soraya

  2. Rochelle says:

    Thank you Conny for sharing that story. So fitting for my post today.

  3. ArtyMarti says:

    I know that today, most everyone passes by the homeless, or looks the other way when a street person asks us for something. We somehow think that we are better than others, but in God's eyes we are all the same. I pray for a loving spirit.

  4. Liebe Conny,auch dir einen schönen 3 Advent. Ich liebe Weihnachten auch mit allem drum und dran. Ein Fest, das man einfach richtig feiern muss.LGBarbara

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