Summary: Are you ready in attitude? Are you ready for Christmas? Are you ready for the greatest gift?
A Journey Through the Stable IV
Well, it’s getting close isn’t it? Only two more days and Christmas will be here.
And you know if you were to poll the western world you’d probably find that
Christmas is the most popular time of the year, for Christians and non-Christians
alike. Much of what makes this time of the year special is the music. The sacred, “O
Come all Ye Faithful”, “Angels From the Realms of Glory”, “Silent Night” to the
secular “Frosty the Snowman” “Jingle Bells” “White Christmas” and, of course, my
personal favorite, “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”
Much of how we feel about the Yuletide season is wrapped in songs. That first
Christmas was full of singing and songs. Songs and music were a vital part of the
Jewish culture into which Jesus was born. From the very announcement of the
conception of the Christ child until his circumcision and blessing the songs of praise
were lifted into the heavens.
Let’s join Mary today in rejoicing at the coming of Jesus our Savior. There is a
certain timelessness in the words of Mary’s song. The coming of Jesus affects all
times and places in a similar way. And He does this is because He is with us on
every step of our journey. Like our journey through the stable that we’ve been on
the past 3 weeks.
I suppose that I should have warned you about wearing comfortable shoes on this
journey. A journey usually involves a lot of walking, so it’s important to wear shoes
that are comfortable. Jesus walked everywhere he went wearing sandals. Sandals
are like shoes and putting on shoes can be a way of saying you have somewhere to
go. Maybe out to play, or to school or work, or maybe just to visit. We all know at
this time of year there can be so many places to go.
While it’s good to visit, but it’s also good to come home, too. Isn’t it good to come
home and kick off your shoes and get comfy? as we look around the stable, we
realize it wasn’t much of a home for Mary and Joseph to come home to. The stable
reminds us to be thankful for the home that God has given each of us - and the
heavenly home that awaits us.
In every Nativity scene you will find Joseph and Mary, generally kneeling, looking
down at where the baby Jesus lay, with hands folded as if in prayer.
Did you know (and you can look this up in Matt. 1 & 2 and Luke 1 & 2) you won’t
find a single thing Joseph said? As famous as he is, Mary’s husband is never quoted
in the Bible, not a single word. Now, Joseph may not have been quoted as saying
anything but what he did was extremely important. Joseph obeyed.
When the Angel of the Lord told him (despite his misgivings) to take Mary as his
wife, he obeyed.
When he was told to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt and then later return,
Sometimes actions speak louder than words and Joseph spoke volumes with his
Joseph wasn’t the only one to obey in this scenario. Mary probably had more to lose
here than Joseph. He planned to dismiss her quietly it tells us in Matt. 1:19, but
Mary still wouldn’t have been able to hide that fact that she was a unwed, pregnant
teenager. But Mary obeyed and became the mother of Jesus.
Mothers are usually the first person we ever knew and, for most babies, the most
important person in their lives. For many that feeling can last for years. I think the
world is a better place to live in because God gave us mothers. Joseph and Mary in
the stable reminds us of God’s love through the love of our parents.
In Jesus’ time, olive oil had many uses. Oil was considered to be one of the
necessities of life then. It was used, of course, in cooking (as it still is today), as fuel
in lamps, and today we use it in the soaps and lotions we use on our bodies to keep
them clean and soft. Mary probably used olive oil on Jesus the way we use baby oil
on newborn babies today.
The Bible speaks of the “oil of gladness”. Being rubbed with oil probably made
baby Jesus glad. Maybe that’s why the Psalm says, “You anoint my head with oil,
my cup overflows”, to help describe the gladness God gives to each of us.
Today we use diapers, blankets, booties, cap, and one-piece outfits on babies. Mary
used swaddling cloths. To be “wrapped in swaddling cloths” the way it has been
explained to me is to literally wrap the baby completely up in cloths, form head to