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Being from the South, David Slaigle loves ribs. He remembered hearing about this particular restaurant that had amazing ribs, and a bunch of his friends and him drove 50 minutes to get there. The place was packed, and the food was great. It was "all you can eat rib night," and rib bones were piling up as fast as the line to get in.

Eating ribs is messy business. Barbecue sauce gets on your face, fingers, and clothes; dirty napkins pile up next to half-eaten bowls of baked beans and coleslaw. When his crew had eaten all they could eat, they paid their tab and waddled out to the car.

That's when he reached into his pocket for his keys and came up with nothing but lint. Starting to panic, he looked through the window at the ignition. He was hoping that he had locked his keys in the car, because in the back of his mind a more disgusting possibility was taking shape. When he saw that the ignition was empty, he knew exactly where his keys were--the keys to his car, his house, and his office. Only seconds earlier, those precious keys had slid right off his tray and followed a half-eaten corn cob and several bones to the bottom of a trash can. He had thrown away his keys on all you can eat rib night.

It was a long walk home, and his friends certainly weren't going to do his dirty work for me. So he dove in. He fished through bones, beans, barbecue, corn, cake, coleslaw, and a host of saliva-soaked napkins. A shiny layer of trashcan slime had coated his arms before he finally grasped hold of those precious keys.

As I meditate on the Incarnation this Christmas season, I think about our dumpster-diving God. I mean no disrespect by calling him that. On the contrary, I have a soaring adoration for the infinite God who left a pristine, sinless heaven to search through the filth and rubbish of this fallen world for something precious to him--me.

(From Paul Decker's Sermon "Master of the Universe")

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