So this Christmas, focus on Christ being born in you. Maybe that’s why He was born the first time into a smelly stable. Not that much different from being born in us.
These are the last three sentences of my Catch last Monday, and if that wasn’t the first time I’d ever had that thought, I forgot about it, because that surely seemed like a totally new thought, and since it is new to me now — and it’s a pretty profound thought at that — I think it deserves further consideration.
Here at the Catch, we talk a lot about Christ living in us. We use terms like, “Christ taking up residence in our lives,” or “the indwelling life of Christ,” or we’ll take up scriptures like, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). We talk about the fact that it’s the Spirit of God that actually does this because that is His role in the trinity, to take what Christ taught and make it known to us by living inside us and communicating with us via our hearts and minds.
But don’t you ever wonder how the Holy Spirit can live in us when our lives are “still” inundated with sin? We have so far to go, how can the Holy Spirit put up with this process? How can perfection dwell within imperfection? Here’s the answer to that question: I don’t know, but maybe it has something to do with Jesus coming into the world in such an inappropriate place for a king to be born. Maybe that’s part of why God chose to be born in a stable, to show us that He has no problem identifying with straw poverty. If God can be born in the middle of hay, manure and cow dung, maybe He can put up with me. If it had been a high-class birth into a pristine environment, how could He possibly be born in us? We would be forever trying to clean ourselves up in order to receive Christ, but no, Christ comes to us just as we are. That is something magically won at the cross — not only the forgiveness of our sins, but the fellowship of God in spite of our imperfection. Suddenly the stable makes sense — He was getting Himself ready to come into our lives. If He can be born in the vicinity of cow dung, He can probably put up with our B.S.