So i went to Kairos last night in nashville with some friends and in the spirit of christmas the service was about...you guessed it, christmas. we sang christmas carols and then pastor mike talked about the birth of Jesus. He talked about the manger scene and christmas pageants (haha)...he joked about how we set out manger scenes up wrong, how we put joseph to the side cuz we dont know what to do with him-he talked about how we get mad when we find out there is no inn keeper, there just is no room in the inn. and we get mad cuz mary is giving birth in a BARN, there is no way thats sanitary. hahaha, man that still makes me laugh. anyways there is more and ill elaborate but this part of the story he told got me thinking...
How wrong is that?! That Jesus- our king and savior, is born where animals eat then digest and excrete food. ewww! Putting aside Jesus being part God in this moment, if I were mary I would be so pissed. I am in LABOR and i cant even get a pillow? are you serious. How messed up is that? and how messed up is it that God chose this to be the place his son would come into the world? I mean, I know our world is sinful but really, no one thought- I can do this woman a solid and let her have my room. But instead, Jesus "was born in a manger, cuz there was no room in the inn". But i thought about what our nativity sets would look like if she had given birth in the inn....it most likely would look like a movie scene at a crack hotel lol....there would be people everywhere, im sure there would have been no privacy for mary during her delivery, sheperds are the outcasts of society- so they are for sure not coming inside smelling like animals, and on top of that, its tax season so im sure there are lots of drunks. Not the nativity scene we know and love. lol. Soooo here is the twist, God chose to let Jesus be born in a dirty smelly stable because, in that place, the birth of the living God was shared with the least of the least, in a way so intimate that it could only be achieved in the stable. HUH. so from the very minute Jesus came to this earth, God set an example of what a relationship with him would look like...intimate. Jesus calls us into the strangest places that can seem undesirable, dirty and smelly, or a place that seems unfit for a king and thats where we meet him. He meets us in that place that is quiet and intimate and where there is nothing from the outside world to take the attention off of him. Its the stable where we meet our savior, WE- the least of the least, the poor sheperd boy, the outcasts, the undeserving- get to share in the life of our precious savior and king. And last night at Kairos (which means the right or opportune moment in greek-a moment of indeterminate time in which something special happens), Jesus drew me into that quiet, dirty, smelly stable and reminded me that this may not be the place i long to be, but this is the place my savior lives.
pastor mike went on, and the further and further he went into he sermon the softer he spoke...
He started out louder, joking some about joseph and how we want him there but how we never really know where to put him in our manger scene, and the wise men...why are they even in the manger scene because they werent there in the beginning, laughing about the star placement and what not... but he began to tell the story of the wisemen, and his voice softened and slowed down, his demeanor changed. I could see the impact his next statement had on him and how he was being changed from the inside as he prepared to drive the next point home... He went on about the wisemen, and how as they made their way to visit jesus, the king born to bethlehem and how when they got to Jerusalem, King Herod heard of talk of a born king and how
Herod had stolen his throne and so the thought of a child born with rights to the throne was a threat to Herod. pastor mike talked about how Herod was sneaky, he was bad, he had a dark purpose. He called the men to speak to him, he told them to find the child and report back to him so he could worship him too. Pastor Mikes voice got softer but a really intense tone, Herod knew where that baby was, he had people all over the city, Herod didnt need them to report back- he was smarter than that- he had all eyes out for him and he had evil in his heart. The wisemen showed up and they worshiped him, they gave him the gifts (we all know the story) and then they went home...but not through Jerusalem. That same night God gave joseph a dream, telling him to leave immediately and go to Egypt because Herod was out for Jesus's head. Jesus came to die for our sins, but not that way. it is the absolute unthinkable, that Jesus be slaughtered. OH man....im sorry but let that sink in.
What incredible lengths God went through to be sure that we would have the ability to gain salvation. Jesus is helpless at this point in life and Herod has every resource, every reason, to kill the messiah but God refused to let his son die yet. At first thought it seems to be act of mercy for his son, when really it is an act of love for his people. He loves us so much that he will only let his son die on the cross after living a perfect, blameless life that fulfills his law. THAT is love. This precious child that mary labored over, that joseph gave all and did everything to protect, was given as a lamb for slaughter...So thank you Jesus for meeting me at Kairos and giving me awhole new perspective on your life and our Abba Father!
What an Amazing God we have.