When God came to Earth, there was no room in the inn, but there was room in the stable. What lesson is hidden behind the inn and the stable?
What is an inn, but the gathering-place of public opinion, the focal point of the world’s moods, the residence of the worldly, the rallying place of the fashionable and those who count in the management of the world’s affairs? What is a stable, but the place of outcasts, the refuge of beasts, and the shelter of the valueless, and therefore the symbol of those who in the eyes of public opinion do not count and hence may be ignored as of no great value or moment? Anyone in the world would have expected to find Divinity in an inn, but no one would have expected to have found it in a stable….
If, in those days, the stars of the heavens by some magic touch had folded themselves together as silver words and announced the birth of the Expected of the Nations, where would the world have gone in search of Him?
The world would have searched for the Babe in some palace by the Tiber, or in some gilded house of Athens, or in some inn of a great city where gathered the rich, the mighty, and the powerful ones of Earth. They would not have been the least surprised to have found the newborn King of Kings stretched out on a cradle of gold and surrounded by kings and philosophers paying Him their tribute and obeisance.
But they would have been surprised to have discovered Him in a manger, laid on coarse straw and warmed by the breath of oxen, as if in atonement for the coldness of the hearts of men. No one would have expected that the One whose fingers could stop the turning of Arcturus would be smaller than the head of an ox; that He who could hurl the ball of fire into the heavens would one day be warmed by the breath of beats; that He who could make a canopy of stars would be shielded from a stormy sky by the roof of a stable; or that He who made the Earth as His future home would be homeless at home. No one would have expected to find Divinity in such a condition; but that is because Divinity is always where you least expect to find it….
The world has always sought Divinity in the power of a Babel, but never in the weakness of a Bethlehem. It has searched for it in the inns of popular opinion, but never in the stable of the ignored. It has looked for it in the cradles of gold, but never in the cribs of straw – always in power, but never in weakness.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Merry Christmas, Gentle Reader. May God, who gave us His Son to walk the earth, proclaim the New Covenant, and redeem us of our sins through His Passion, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension, bless and keep you all.