Is There a Stable in Your House?
Deborah Wuehler, TOS Senior Editor
I have been sulking a bit over here at my house as I think about Christmas. I am looking around me at the disorder that was caused recently as a result of a small flood in our house. The carpets have been ripped out, all flooring is gone, and all our furnishings have been moved outside in a pod or have been hastily stashed inside boxes that line various rooms in our house. No decorations. No nativity. Nothing. Hmmm, not very Christmassy, and the thick layer of concrete dust on it all doesn't seem to have the same effect as white powdery snow. Where do I even start to try to clean out a spot for celebrating Christmas this year? And, with extra money going to necessary home improvements, what do we do about gifts? An overwhelming project with no motivation and recently depleted finances resulted in a sulky, sad feeling.
Looking up from that low point, I had to ask myself a question. Besides my home, was my heart even ready to celebrate? Not really. I was in no mood for celebration with such surroundings. There was obviously no room in the inn. All I had to offer was a dirt-filled place that was, in my mind, just like a stable, complete with wild animals (I mean children) running around making even more messes. And I have no gifts to speak of, at least not gifts that are worthy of being received by such precious children. I have nothing at all to offer. Even though the first true Christmas celebration took place in surroundings like that, my heart was still saddened by the thought of our meager non-celebration. Then something happened that changed not only my mind, but my heart as well.
That something was my sometimes profound husband. Let's face it: those husbands have a way of bringing clarity to situations whether we like it or not. I was mourning and moaning to him about our lack of "Christmas" this year, and my husband reminded me of several truths.
He reminded me to consider again where that Holiest King of all Kings was placed on earth--someone who was true Royalty, who should have chosen and been given the finest hospital with the best surgeons money could buy, the best luxuries afforded to man--yet this Holy God CHOSE the dirt-laden floors of a stable. A place that was meant for animals, not even men, to be brought forth to the men of this earth, most of whom were probably born in better places than that lowly stable. I was humbled and asked myself why Holiness would choose dirt, why Royalty would choose poverty, why the Great Provider would choose lack, and ultimately, why God would choose my ugly heart as His dwelling place.
When I thought back to when Christ was born in my heart, and likewise, into the heart of every man, it indeed was a place of stench. A place where only animal instincts dwelt--humanity at its lowest form, humiliation and shame at its highest. And, I have no gifts worthy of a King, let alone another person, nothing at all to offer anyone. Why would a holy God choose to not only be born in, but to dwell in, a heart like mine? The scriptures say He is changing me into His likeness. He is changing His surroundings--the place He dwells in my heart--into a holy place fit for His Royalty. He not only chose to be born in my filth, but He also chooses to clean it, even to transform it into a place of grandeur and holiness. Me? Yes, and even you. The wonder of it all is beyond understanding.
Just as I have a lot to do in making my surroundings fit for my family, so He has a lot of work to do in me to make me a holy place fit for Him. I can't even begin to tackle that project on my own, so He gifted me with His righteousness and wrapped it in swaddling clothes and laid it in my manger. And, as I worship Him and as I lift Him up, He will draw all men unto Himself. Lowly men (like shepherds) and royal kings (like wise men) wonder what it is in this heart of mine that shines so brightly and brings such peace. I know that it is the gift of Jesus within the stable of my heart.
I don't want the house of my heart to be that fancy inn that had no place for a Savior. I desire to find a spot to celebrate Him and let Him dwell in my lowly heart and watch Him transform it into a holy place. And as He clears out the dirty pen, may I say, as that woman long ago said, "Be it unto me according to Thy Word."
I don't merely need cleaner surroundings. I need a clean heart. There is no room in the fancy inn of my human desires, and gladly so. But there is room in the dirty stable of my heart where He is needed most. And there, I bow in the musty hay, before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and worship His Holiness and praise Him for His desire to live within me. I now have peace because I am one on whom His favor rests. And I sing with that heavenly host, in sincere humility and joyous celebration: Glory to God in the Highest!
Now, I think I'll go start making a place for a celebration. Where's that broom?
"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
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