A Stable Instead of a Room
We know the Christmas story so well that, perhaps, it has become just that: a story. Traditions and Nativity scenes can numb us to the reality that is the birth of Christ. It can be more of a celebrated holiday than one of the single most significant events in history. So to make Christmas less of a story and more of a historical event, I want you to imagine yourself in Mary and Joseph’s shoes. Mary, a young woman, going through labor on the back of a donkey, in a foreign land, has a barn as her only shelter. Joseph, a man trying to care for his young wife and the Son of God in her womb, can only secure a barn for them. Consider the fear they must have felt, the frustration, the stress. Think about yourself: how do you react when life doesn’t go the way you expect? How do you react when you get a stable instead of a room?
We can’t always control what happens to us in this life, but we can always control our reactions. Look at the way Mary and Joseph reacted. We don’t read about their fear. There’s no verse about Joseph demanding a room for his pregnant wife. They responded as faithful servants to God’s plan. If we choose to rant and rave or whine and complain, if all we think about is how nice a room would be and how smelly and dirty the stable is, we’ll miss the miracle that happens in that stable. As C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Pain is God’s megaphone! Don’t waste your time thinking about what could have been or what you thought should have happened; doing so is telling God that you know better than He does.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
How were Mary and Joseph able to react with such obedience? Maybe it was because Mary knew she was chosen by God, that she carried the Son of God in her. Does that sound familiar?
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” (Ephesians 1:4)
“And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.” (Romans 8:10)
God has called you, He has chosen you, and you have Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit within you. You too can respond with faithful obedience when you get a stable instead of a room.
There will be no new blog posts next week as we break to celebrate Christmas. We’ll be back on December 31st. Have a very merry Christmas!