Can't you just imagine the headline. Traveling Woman Gives Birth While Taking Shelter in Local Goat Shed!
Over the course of a couple of years, my mom gave my sisters and I the many pieces of the Willow Tree nativity and crѐche. It's absolutely beautiful. My kids, as they've gotten bigger, have loved participating in situating the shepherds, wisemen, animals, mother Mary, et al. But, this year, as I gaze at it from across the living room, I can't help but wonder how well this beautiful scene depicts the reality of that night.
I now scoop poop on a pretty regular basis. I also spend time among the flies and other varmints that sometimes live in the goat shed. This is the first Christmas that I've really stopped to ponder what that evening must have been like for Mary and Joseph. As I lug a wheelbarrowful of poo to the compost pile, I can't help but imagine my Savior born in our little goat shed. Can't you just imagine it, "Mary, you've got to be kidding me! You're gonna have this baby RIGHT NOW??? Come on, focus on something else. Get your mind off of it. This is not the story we want to be telling our son some day about the day he was born!"
And yet, it is the story he had to tell. It's the story we ALL tell all of our sons and daughters. Of course, it's made much more beautiful by the angelic choirs and travelers from afar with their extravagent gifts. And yet, a barn. A lowly manger. Poop. And flies. And odors that were less than angelic.
God did that for us. In fact, it seemed that throughout his ministry, Jesus was never one to shy away from the lowly or less respectable.
It may just be me, but I'm seeing several lessons for us in there. :)