It is finally Christmas! Everyone’s been going in a million different directions. Such a sight reminds me of Bethlehem the week that God descended onto planet Earth amidst the hubbub, camouflaged in the skin of a newborn.
One of my favorite images of Christmas revolves around the night the Christ child was born. Max Lucado portrayed the scene where the characters in the story came to life. Each holiday I ponder it once again.
King Augustus had given the economy of Bethlehem the greatest gift ever: a decree that a census should be taken bringing hundreds of people into the city. No doubt shop owners were displaying their finest goods in the front windows.
Even the homeowner of an inn experienced unprecedented prosperity. Every bed was taken. Never had every inch of his business space been so cram packed with weary travelers.
One’s imagination is kindled thinking about the conversation of the innkeeper and his family the night the man and the pregnant lady on the donkey had asked for a room, only to be jammed in his stable on a filthy pallet. Certainly, a more lowly place of birth could not exist for any human being, much less the Creator of the universe! Do you think at the dinner table the innkeeper’s family commented with curiosity about who they’d just housed in the stall amidst the stench of urine, dung, and sheep? Probably not. They were too busy being totally unaware that God had drawn near, not wearing a crown but a diaper.
Then there were the shepherds. They sat silently on the stable floor, perhaps perplexed. Their night watch had been interrupted by a symphony of angels.
And then there was Mary, a young girl whose head rested on the soft leather of Joseph’s saddle. Her pain in childbirth had been eclipsed by wonder. She looked into the face of her baby, pondering the angels’ words, “His Kingdom will never end.”
Imagine. Majesty in the midst of the mundane. Holiness in the filth of sheep manure and sweat. Divinity entering the world on a dirt floor.
And meanwhile, the city noises continued, the innkeeper oblivious that he’d just sent God out into the cold and the merchants totally unaware that the King of Kings resided in their town.
Friends, there might be a Christmas reminder here. The town people were too busy, unconsciously trapped in their own life sagas to embrace the miracle that had just occurred. How is that? They weren’t looking for Jesus to come. I’m sure if they’d been still long enough, God would have given them a ‘heads up’ about the indescribable gift that was about to enter their atmosphere. After all, He told the shepherds.
God speaks to us when we have ears to hear. Christmas Day is here. When it’s all been wrapped, cooked, and prepared, what special message will He impart to us on this morning?
About Pam Kanaly
Aloha! I’m Pam Kanaly, President and co-founder of Arise Ministries. But actually, I think Arise found me wanting to bless single moms years ago. Ministry was never on my mind as a kid. All I wanted to be was a hula dancer. So Mother enrolled me in the tiny tots’ class. Guess God knew I’d have two grandbabies born in Hawaii. I love the great outdoors. You might even find me spending time with my husband grizzly bear watching or camping. In fact, it was on a turkey hunt that God gave me the name Arise Ministries in 2002. I suppose it’s a good thing that I majored in Grammar in college since I love to write words of encouragement to single moms.