Pastor David’s Devotional
6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
I love Christmas Carols! My list of favorites is very long! “Away in a Manger” is one of my favorites, in part because I can remember singing it when I was a child. It is certainly one of the easier carols to memorize!
“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus Laid down his sweet head. The stars in the sky looked down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
The cattle ware lowing, the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus no crying he makes; I love thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky and stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.”
What a peaceful and beautiful picture of the birth of Jesus! Of course, the carol cleans up the birth story quite a bit. Yes, Jesus was born where barnyard animals were kept. But, along with barnyard animals comes barnyard animal mess. Jesus was born outside in a cave or barn where animals were kept! It was messy. Life can be messy. And, it is into the messiness of life that Jesus was born.
After the birth, Jesus life remained messy. Upon hearing the news of Jesus birth, King Herod had all male Jewish babies in the area put to death. Jesus family barely escaped with their lives. Life can be messy. It was for Jesus.
We can be tempted to clean up the nativity story and make it sound peaceful and beautiful. But, the birth of Jesus wasn’t beautiful in that way. It was messy. And, this truth is good news. Jesus doesn’t just come to us in the peaceful and beautiful times of life, he also comes to us in the messy times of life! No matter what the mess, Jesus will be with us: Emmanuel, God with us.
It is also important to remember that following Jesus can be messy. He can lead us to do things we would have otherwise not done, to sacrifice in ways that can leave us a bit uncomfortable. Thinking about the baby Jesus being born in a barn or cave, with cows (who were not only lowing) nearby, to a young girl and a young man who would soon become refugees, helps prepare us for the life of discipleship. Jesus once said “If you want to be a follower of mine, you must deny yourself, pick up your cross and come and follow me.” Discipleship can be messy!
Life can be messy. Discipleship can be messy. Jesus comes to us in the midst of the mess and he brings grace sufficient for every need. Thanks be go God!
God bless you and stay well!