WELCOME TO THE STABLE
We all know the nativity scene. Most of us know that Jesus was born to Joseph & Mary in a stable and that some people came to visit. But the story of the birth of Jesus, I think, has a hidden message that we tend to forget. It is a story of people from different backgrounds, education, jobs, social status and languages lead by God to meet their Savior.
First, there is Mary & Joseph, a young Jewish couple. And even though they are usually presented as idyllic, they were probably dealing with social rejection, because Mary was pregnant before they were married. Yes, she became pregnant because of the Holy Spirit and not because she had been intimate with Joseph, but we may wonder if her parents felt the same way.
Then there’s the shepherds. Angels appeared to them in the field singing about the newborn King, telling them to find him in a stable lying in a manger – which is a big through that animals eat from. Shepherds were the lowest class in Jewish society. Rough around the edges. Smelling of sheep. Not the typical people you’d invite to a maternity visit a few hours after giving birth.
I remember how my wife gave me the responsibility to make sure that every visitor would wash their hands before they would even look at our beautiful daughter in the first weeks after she was born. Imagine Mary turning to Joseph as soon as the shepherds walk in: “Joseph, make sure that they don’t touch him!”
Then there’s the three wise men, or kings, or magi, or whatever they were exactly. Foreigners, from a different religion. From the value of their gifts we understand that they were at least people from the high class of their society. God spoke to them in their language – putting up a very special star that prompted them to make a long journey to visit this baby king.
The stable = the church
And so, what you see on this picture, is that God led people from different countries, social status, religion and language to come to the scene of the birth of Jesus.
Here’s my main point: the church needs to be like the stable in the nativity scene. We need to welcome everyone in that is interested to find out more about who this Jesus is. And whatever has brought them there – angels singing, a star leading the way, or someone who invited them – they need to know that they are welcome in the stable!
As the stable is a picture of the church, so Joseph and Mary are a picture of Christians. We present Jesus to the world. We have received Jesus into our lives, and I think that I speak for many of us, that He is the best thing that ever happened to us!
So let our lives be all about how we are presenting Christ to the world – both kings and shepherds, and let our churches be a place where everyone is welcome and gets to meet the one who is the Saviour to all.