Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Messiah

We see them all over in December: the iconic renderings of the Nativity on Christmas cards, on lawns, and in Nativity sets. Beneath the Star of Bethlehem, Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds, sheep, and donkeys are shown gathered around a manger that holds the baby Jesus. Most depict a stable of some kind, although some scholars believe that the manger may have been in a cave which was used to house animals.

Cave or stable, barn or corral—whichever it was, I’m particularly touched by the fact that the Messiah was born in such a place. As one who’s cleaned more than her share of horse stalls, goat pens, and calving barns, I feel qualified to point out a few details about the Nativity that many folks may not have considered: sheep produce poo, donkeys emit doo, and even clean hay or straw itches like crazy!

Why didn’t the Messiah make His grand entrance in a Super 8, Mariott, or better yet, Bethlehem University Medical Center? That's a mystery to me. Nevertheless, I’m grateful and happy to have a Savior who’s not afraid to get His hands dirty, who’s willing and able to roll up His sleeves, get in the middle of the inglorious mess that is me, and help me—and anyone else who asks!

But I feel for Mary, I really do.

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."
                                                         Luke 2:8

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