Well we are at the final stretch, 12 days ‘til Christmas! How has this advent Season been going for you? Are you fostering lasting moments with your family and friends that will be remembered? In the ★ Day 01 – Reason for the Season – Why Do We Celebrate? ★ post I shared with you a tradition that my mom did with my brother, sister and I with the advent calendar and how precious that memory was to me. My mom did a phenomenal job cultivating wonder and excitement during the advent season. Another tradition we had was that on Christmas Eve, one of us got to put the baby Jesus in the Nativity….up until then, the porcelain figurine set was incomplete. As was the case with the last day of the advent calendar, this was yet another opportunity for my siblings and I to fight over who got to do it. Typically if you opened the last flap of the calendar, you were ineligible for the Nativity addition of the baby Jesus. My mom needed to do a lot of refereeing since there were 3 of us…hahaha! I saw this comic and thought this was a hysterical point of view from the animal’s perspective of what it was like to be there for the birth of Christ!
In the ★ Day 11 – Reason for the Season – Following Jesus Will Cost You ★ post, I mentioned about the tough road that Mary and Joseph had to endure travelling to a foreign land, and how I loved the realism of the 2006 movie “The Nativity Story,” (probably one of my favorite movies!) As we discussed, I especially loved the realistic depiction of what the long and arduous journey to Bethlehem must have been like for the pregnant teenager, Mary riding on the back of a donkey through the barren land. In yesterday’s ★ Day 12 – Reason for the Season – Oh Holy Night ★ post, we looked at the birth of Jesus and the fact that his crib was a feeding trough in a stable of animals. Today’s “Reason for the Season” will delve into what the Nativity really was like…which probably was nothing like the idyllic scenes that we see in all the Hollywood depictions and artistic paintings like this one…
Growing up this is always how I imagined the first Christmas to be like. Peaceful, tranquil and with no stress whatsoever, but I know think it was quite different! Luke 2:7 (NKJV) says,
“And she [ Mary ] brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
One simple verse that we can extrapolate that the Savior of the World was born in a stable with a manger or feeding trough for a crib. Have you ever thought about what that must have been like? How it was to give birth in a filthy stable filled with animals? Last year I went on a field trip with my daughter to a career center so that she could investigate possible options for her future. One of the courses of study available was “Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources” that was designed for students interested in careers in agribusiness, animal sciences, and farm/range management. They had a fully functioning stable with cows, pigs, sheep and an assortment of other livestock animals. Though they kept the place as clean as possible, the smell was unbelievable! Between the stench of the animals and manure it was difficult for me to stay there for too long. Now imagine being in a stable over 2,000 years ago. I would think that the hygiene conditions and aroma from the animals would have been drastically worse than a career center to train high school students.
The other aspect that I think it often overlooked in such a short passage of scripture is the lack of cleanliness in the accommodations for giving birth. I was blessed to be present for both of my daughter’s births back in 2000 and 2003. I remember so vividly the sanitized room and how comfortable they made my wife feel. We were in a very relaxing and beautiful hospital room surrounded by our family for support in the waiting room. There were nurses popping in every 30 minutes or so to see if they could get her ice chips or anything else to put her at ease. She also had an epidural to help with the pain, and a host of medical professionals available if anything went wrong. Another aspect that I recall was the precautions that the doctor and nurses took to prevent the spread of any contagion. Now rewind back to the delivery room that Mary had…She probably had a blanket on the dirt ground surrounded by livestock, no epidural or nursing staff to make her more comfortable, and I would suspect Joseph delivering the baby…Far from ideal circumstances! As we have been seeing over the past few days, Mary and Joseph faced tremendous adversity to be part of God’s salvation plan to bring Jesus into this world! I think though that they had great joy despite the circumstances and hardships they faced. John Piper made this powerful point in his “Good News of Great Joy | Daily Readings for Advent Devotional,”
“The key that unlocks the treasure chest of God’s peace is faith in the promises of God.”
Mary and Joseph both has extraordinary faith in God and Faith in God = Peace in life! Day 10 of the of 121 Advent Bible Plan furthers this point…
“We are all longing for peace in our lives. We all want the brokenness and chaos of sin to be removed and for shalom to enter in. So how do we find true peace? How can we go and live our lives in peace? JESUS! JESUS! JESUS! If we lay our lives at His feet, trust Him with our whole selves, the Prince of Peace will cover us with peace for all our eternity! Jesus is the giver of peace to our lives!
Sin is the problem and Jesus is the answer! Just like the Nativity scene was incomplete until December 24 in my childhood home, so out life is incomplete until we accept that baby wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in the manger that cold, dark night in the stable. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NLT) says,
“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
And Jesus said about Himself in Luke 19:10 (NLT),
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
The journey we have been on together for the past 13 days, studying the events of the birth that changed everything, we will find peace and completeness when we trust in Jesus as our Savior! I am so thankful that Jesus is at the center of my life and that He will always be present!
If you would like to see the next installment of our “25 Days of Thankfulness” series go here… Day 14 – Reason for the Season – Joy to the World ★
Or you can start from the beginning by ★ Clicking Here ★
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