All of Us Belong at the Stable
An author, Ian MacLaren, tells a true story in his book, “Beside the Briar Bush.” It is about a woman raised in a Catholic home by strict parents.
In Ireland, she wanted to find freedom—freedom from all the rules of the house. Freedom from religion. She was fed up with being told what to do and how to do it.
She goes away and finds the kind of life she thinks is free. She gets all she ever desired, but it is never enough. And what she possesses begins to possess her. Now, she does not even know what it means to be free.
One day she, like a prodigal daughter, goes home. When she gets to the cottage of her birth, she wants to turn around and run away. But as she turns to go the dog starts to bark. Her father opens the door. He cannot see her, but he calls out her name, even though he doesn’t have a reason to expect her. She runs toward him, and he takes her in his arms and sobs out blessings on her head.
After she returns to the city and to her job, she says to a friend, “It is a pity that you do not speak Gaelic. That is the best of all languages for loving. There are fifty words for ‘darling,’ and my father called me every one of them the night I came home.”
Jesus has fifty-plus words for all of us. That is what the stable scene is all about—what Christmas is all about.
It would seem that God’s method of judging must be different from that of the world. Just recall the message of the angels: “I bring you good news for all people.” “All people.” That means that Christmas is for everyone no matter who you are.
If you are not treated like royalty by the world. If your job makes your life feel menial. If your life is full of burdens. You have a special spotlight in God’s stage, and He has a special place in his heart for you.
He found a church for the outcast, not a church that casts people out.
What is Christ’s Christmas message? Simply this. Be you saint or sinner, you belong at the stable. Be you rich or poor. You belong at the stable.
Christ did not come to earth to exclude anyone. His arms reach out to all who turn to Him, whoever we are, whatever we have done in the past.
All of us belong at the stable.