I can’t believe it. Only a few days till Christmas! Whew! This time of year can get totally crazy. I guess that’s normal when considering where the Christmas story began.It all started in the Judean region when God camouflaged Himself in the skin of a newborn and descended onto planet Earth. Max Lucado portrays the scene in his book God Came Near. Folks in Bethlehem were scurrying about creating a frenzy like none other. The characters in the plot prove my point quite well.
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 feverishly displaying their finest goods in the front windows.
Even the homeowner of an inn experienced unprecedented busyness and 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 the urine, dung, and sheep? Probably not. They were too busy, 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 there was Mary, a young girl whose head rested on the 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.
Friend, there might be a Christmas lesson tucked inside this saga. The people were too engaged, trapped in their own life narratives to embrace the miracle right under their very noses. They weren’t looking for Jesus to come. I wonder if their lives would have been changed forever had they been still long enough to hear heaven’s headline news. God might have told them. After all, He revealed the glorious revelation to the shepherds.
Christmas morning is almost here. I don’t know about you, but when the holiday goodies have all been wrapped, cooked or prepared, I want my own divine encounter with the heavenly hosts. God longs to draw near. I hope I don’t miss Him.