1. Joni Earickson shares some interesting thoughts about the night when Christ was born. Read "The Stable" - from "A Christmas Longing"
2. I enjoy parties - birthday, anniversaries. I would have enjoyed being with the people in the inn.
3. But one thing I don’t like about parties. So many people that I really don’t get to talk in depth with one person, unless we really make a point of doing so.
4. This Christmas you will have many gatherings to be part of - church, family, concerts, or Christmas parties at work. We come to special events and gatherings to celebrate the season and to remember what it is all about. That is important .
5. But we may discover that though we remember Christ we may not find Him.
a. To find Him we must step out from the group, from the festivities, from the activities of the season.
b. To find Him we must step out from the inn and go to the stable.
6. But where is that stable? It may be in your bedroom, it may be be outside amongst some snow covered trees.
7. It is where, in the quiet, you can come and speak to Christ and tell Him that you are thankful that He came to save you from your sins, that you love Him and again want to commit yourself top live for Him.
8. It is in the time alone we spend with Jesus that allows us to experience Him. For we cannot really know Him if the noise is too loud and the glitter is too bright. We must find Him in the still and quiet moments that we have. We must be willing to step out into the cold of the night.
9. It may not seem as nice, but we will discover something precious. That Jesus was not born to give us a reason to celebrate each year. Not so that we could exchange gifts and eat turkey. He was not born for the joyous times of our lives.
10. But he came because He knows that our lives are not all a celebration. He came because He knows there are times we are lonely and sad and sick and tired.
11. We may try to cover up these feelings at this time but they are there, just the same. I believe it is good to celebrate and not always dwell on these things. But it is in the lonliness and pain that we really find Christ.
12. Jesus would later say (Luke 4:18) "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind..."
13. These things create a deep hole within us that only Jesus can fill. They draw us to Him in our need.
14. And so this Christmas may we see Christ as coming not in the celebration but in the quiet and even painful times.
15. May we cry out to Him and tell Him that we need Him and the joy, love and peace that only He can give.
16. And then, when we have experienced Him in that personal and intimate time, then we can join the crowd in the inn again and celebrate that which is deep within us.