This year has been a struggle to get our Christmas decorations up. There is a lot of life happening around us and in our family, those needs are the priority. My husband moved the stable to our Nativity scene into the yard because he needed it out of his way and it was time to put up decorations anyway. The figures are up in the garage attic and not so easy to obtain. So alone sits an empty stable.
As I glanced over at the lonely stable the other day backing from our driveway a thought occurred. What if the stable had remained empty? What if God had just left the world in our sin and never came down to redeem us? God is the perfect judge. God created us. God could have wiped the slate clean of His creation once we became broken by sin. He didn’t do that. He loved us so much He sent His one and only Son. God is LOVE. John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
The stable was full that night our Savior was born. His young parents, who were sinners themselves, had no idea what a key part of God’s plan they had become. The lowly animals were there. The first to receive the birth announcement directly from heaven’s angel choir were lowly shepherds. The shepherds were not perfect and without sin. Yet once again God used sinners and low social status common man as part of His plan. The shepherds filled the stable to worship the King of Kings. Many months later some wise kings sought the child to worship Him and bring offerings. The fact that God had low shepherds to wealthy kings seek out the new baby shows He came for ALL people.
Jesus is also called the Word in scripture. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus is scripture lived out in the flesh!
His life lived on this earth is the standard to look to. As was with his birth so was his life. He ministered to ALL. According to the culture of the day he especially concentrated on the “greatest sinners”. Luke 5:31-32 “Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” As He spoke to the self righteous Pharisees they were blind to the fact that they are sinners themselves. Even the self righteous were a part of God’s plan. Their desire to have full control of “the law” and keep their religious power is what put Jesus on the cross. Jesus died on the cross for ALL people and ALL sin. He even forgave the very ones who put Him there as he hung in pain. Luke 23:34 “Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Jesus died and was buried and then three days later He rose to life fully defeating death and sin. Luke 24:5-6 ” In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee.”
The tomb was empty that day because the stable had been full.
I am so grateful that Jesus came. I am a wretched sinner no better than anyone else. The deeper I understand my own sin and what Jesus took on that cross for me the deeper I understand the GRACE. We are called to love and share His light and good news with the world. Mathew 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son an of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This Christmas lets remember that if it weren’t for a full stable there would not have been an empty tomb. Salvation, love, grace, anything good does not come from us. It is all about Jesus. He is our hope. The only hope for humanity. We only make a difference when we allow Jesus to love through us. This Christmas I ask Christ for the compassion I need for ALL of his creation. I want the world to have the most precious gift that I have received. Salvation from sin through God’s only Son, Jesus.
1 John 3:18″Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with action and in truth.”