If Mary and Joseph were to arrive Friday night in Gilbert, tired, lonely, penniless and pregnant; what would we do? Would we see them and walk on by? Would we pray to God above that they bypass our houses and get help somewhere else, maybe down to Lexington or over to Leesville? Would we send them down the road or to the barn? Would we help or hurt?
I have often wondered what my reaction would be if Jesus Christ were to be born in a barn down the road. What would I do if a couple of farm hands told me that God was down there asleep in a feeding trough, or perhaps that the infant Son of God and Mary and Joseph had set up camp down by the river for the night?
Knowing me, skepticism would be my response. I would more than likely figure that those fellas simply had a bit too much to drink and let it go; because, let’s face it; it makes no sense for the Son of God to come to earth that way.
Above and beyond that it truly makes no sense that He would have anything to do with the likes of me. I am selfish and self absorbed. Seldom do I even notice my neighbor in need, much less help. Seldom do I do what the Old Testament law requires, much less the Law of Christ.
My love is limited, to say the least. I love my family. I love a few other folks, and I love myself. I try to love the rest of the world, but it’s awfully difficult sometimes. Yet with my limited understanding of love, I am supposed to believe that God Almighty loves me enough to send His Son to save me. I find that almost impossible to believe, and yet deep down in my innermost being, I know that that is exactly what transpired.
Through His birth in that stable all those years ago, I have been assured that God loves me enough to die for me, a fella no better than a shepherd. I can’t believe it, but I must. I cannot understand it, but I can accept it. I cannot fathom that much love, but I must embrace it if I am to become the Child of God for whom Christ came to this earth.
The birth of Christ is wonderful, beautiful and divine in its simplicity, because it demonstrates to you and to me that God is a God who loves all: no matter what the station, no matter what the color, no matter what the gender, no matter what the sin. God is a God who loves us enough to send His one and only Son to teach us how to live, to teach us how to love, to give us life eternal in Heaven, and peace and purpose here on earth.
The beauty of the birth of Christ Jesus is not found in the circumstances of Christ’s arrival on this earth. No matter how we try to gloss over them, they were not beautiful. They were not lovely. They were humble and tired and dirty.
The beauty and fascination of the birth of Christ is that He was born at all. The beauty and allure of the birth of Christ is that in spite of our rebellious, sinful, down right awful nature; God still loves us and yearns with all of His heart to bring us back home. He longs to rescue us from the grip of sin and Satan and to give us a joy filled life eternal.
That is the meaning of Christmas, and that is what I pray that each and every one of us enjoy. I pray that you have accepted the love and forgiveness revealed by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ. For within that love is found true life.
What would we do if Mary and Joseph were to arrive Friday night in Gilbert, tired, lonely, penniless and pregnant? Would we give the Lord a welcome worthy of the Son of God, or would we send Him down the road? If the truth be told, we would more than likely send Him down the road; afraid and unwilling to get involved. Not wanting to be disturbed.
And what would Christ do? He would ignore the humiliation, ignore the loneliness, and ignore the pain. He would find somewhere to enter into this world of ours: perhaps in a barn, perhaps in a homeless shelter, perhaps on the street. No matter how long or difficult the road, He would find a way. Love always finds a way.