Summary: Jesus was born in a stable, but there’s more to a stable than what we see in our Nativity sets.

A Journey Through the Stable part 1

Happy New Year! You might think I’m rushing it a little but, to Christians

everywhere, Advent is the beginning of the new year according to the church

calendar. So, Happy New Year!

Students of all ages look forward to the Christmas break. Children look forward

with excitement to the Christmas presents they hope to get. Families look forward to

family gatherings. But Advent means more than just looking forward to our

Christmas breaks and celebrations. Advent is a season of deep spiritual longing and


Are you hungry this morning? You might say, "Yeah. I got up late and had to skip

breakfast to get to church on time."

You might say, "No, I’m not hungry. I had a good breakfast. Besides, I’ve been

feasting on all that leftover turkey, so I am not hungry at all."

Now let’s think about that question in a spiritual sense. "Are you spiritually

hungry?" Are you ready for Jesus to break forth into your life and into the world?

Are you hungry for Christmas? Are you hungry for the Christ of Christmas?

The four Sundays before Christmas is the season known as “Advent”. Advent is

Latin meaning “an arrival”. Advent gives us four weeks to ponder where we are in

God’s creation of things. But we get so focused on the coming “event”, and all the

preparations that go with it, we often lose sight of the things going on around us

during these 4 weeks. What we’re going to do these next 4 Sundays is look at some

of those things. We’re going to take a journey through the stable.

We all know that Mary, Joseph, and some animals are in this stable. We see those

things every year. But there are other things there every year as well and, as we

prepare for the arrival of Jesus, I want us to notice those other things.

Have you ever walked into a room and noticed that it smelled clean? Not just looked

clean but smelled clean? As we walk through the door of the stable, maybe the first

thing we notice as we look around is not so much something we see as something

we smell. A lot of you know what I’m talking about. Fresh straw has that kind of

clean smell. Somebody probably spread some straw around to help make the stable

clean, maybe they knew a baby was going to be born there.

In Jesus’ time, straw consisted of wheat or barley stalks cut to 1 1/2-2 inch lengths

in the process of threshing. It had other uses, too. It was also used for food, mixed

with grains, and used as a binder in brickmaking.

But in this case it was used in cleaning and preparation, like when company is

coming. During Advent we’re supposed to be getting ready. The straw says, “get


Maybe you notice the big timbers that hold up the walls and ceiling. They help you

feel that it’s safe in here. Wood was used for many things besides shelter in those

days. Fuel, boats, utensils, idols, musical instruments, yokes, burnt offerings.

There were many different types of wood, as well. Gopher wood, Acacia, Cedar,

Pine, & Olivewood. The beams in our stable were most likely made of Cedar or


Someday Jesus would be nailed to wooden timbers like these, formed into a cross.

The reason?: to provide protection, to take our sins away and cover us with his

strong love, like a roof over our heads so we can feel safe. The wood in our stable

says, “Here you are safe.”

Do you notice the stones? Stones come in many sizes. Palestine is a stony country

and stones were a very common feature and, like wood, had many different uses.

The most important use of stone was for building. Big stones to build things like

walls to keep out what you don’t want in. Stones had military uses, a convenient

missile for the hand. Remember a shepherd named David who used a small stone in

a sling to defeat a giant.

And one day, a huge stone would be rolled away from in front of Jesus’ tomb to let

us know that the worst enemy had been defeated. All of these stones tell us, “God

will take care of you.”

Dirt? Yeah, dirt. Look around the stable and there’s bound to be dirt. There’s dirt

everywhere. Dirt is basic. The Bible tells us that God created man from the dust of

the earth. God breathed into dirt and gave us life. Now in Advent we are looking

forward to the time Jesus came from heaven to where we are, to be one of us, to

breathe life into us all over again. The dirt says, “Jesus meets us right where we

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