I am not sure why, but when we were trying to figure out what to get Olivia for Christmas this year, we had a really hard time deciding. Between her just having a birthday, and Charlie’s old baby stuff she really had more than enough. But we wanted to get her something, even if sometimes she would rather play with things that we wouldn’t label as toys.
This leads me to think of the different places in the house where I don’t want Olivia to play. One of those places is the toilet bowl (we have to be mindful of shutting the bathroom doors), and another one of those places is our dog’s food dish. When she tries to play with it, she will somehow end up eating the dog’s food along with scattering it all over the floor. Then you guessed it, she will get into the water dish and spill it all over her lap (luckily we caught on to this game pretty early on, so we have been able to avoid much of this lately).
This brings me to my question for you. Would you lay your newborn baby in your pet’s food bowl?
No? Yeah, I wouldn’t want to either. To me, the dog’s food dish isn’t very clean even after it is washed. And if I am honest I don’t even really want to touch it. However when Jesus was born, His mother laid in a manger, and the manger isn’t a nice comfy crib. The manger is defined as a trough in a stable designed to hold feed for livestock. I can imagine it wasn’t the cleanest place. A place where no one would want their child playing, let alone laid after they were born. Mary could have been stubborn, and turned to Joseph to say I am not putting Jesus in that thing, but, even these moments Mary treasured in her heart.
Let us go, even to Bethlehem.
And I can imagine what the shepherds thought after they were told they would find a child in a manger? A manger? For the promised king? Yet, they said Let us go, even… even to Bethlehem. Even to Bethlehem, even to find the Christ, the anointed One, who would be lying in a manger.
And this is a reflection of who Jesus was and how He lived His life. Going to the places that no one wanted to go. He entered the storm, when the disciples were afraid. He healed the leper, by touching him, when touching a leper would make a person “unclean”. He came for the outcast woman who made her way through a crowd to touch just the edge of his garment.
And then even…even placed on a cross between two criminals. Crucified.
Crucifixion was used as the most horrendous, painful, and humiliating way to die. Crucifixion was saved for the worst of the worst criminals, and mainly those who were slaves who had escaped their masters and committed a crime, or those who had endorsed, or engaged in violent opposition of the Roman state itself, insurrection. Crucifixion wasn’t just a painful death, but a statement of the power that the Roman government held.
This is Jesus.
When He was born, He was placed in a manger where no one would want to be right after they were born, and when He died He was placed where no one would want to die. But that is Jesus. Entering the places no one would want to be, to show the world what love is. Reaching the unreachable, and loving the unlovable.
He came for the friend of yours whose life is such a mess, you don’t even want to hang out with them. And for the poor man on the street corner who looks like he hasn’t showered in a year, that you wouldn’t want your child to go near. He even came for you.
In the last days leading up to Christmas, remember even the lost and forgotten. Remember even the poor and the needy. Remember the ones who need the Hope that Christmas brings. And remember to share that Hope wherever you go, and may these moments be treasured in your heart.