A Christmas Reflection from an Anglican Bishop

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:14)

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Imagine yourself in the stable with Mary and Joseph. Jesus has been born! Angels sing, shepherds rejoice, and stars shine. While this moment has profound significance for all humanity, was the scene as polished and glittery as a fancy Christmas card? Probably not.

The stable was probably not particularly clean. There were probably flies and muck. At best, it had the earthy smells of livestock, but at worst, it smelled like manure. Jesus likely wasn’t the adorable, glowing baby that we often see represented in pictures. He probably looked like other newborns, splotches and all.

As we rejoice in the birth of Jesus, as we ponder the miracle of the divine coming down to kiss our world, we should also rejoice in the imperfections of the stable. Jesus embraced our human woundedness. He wasn’t repelled or put off by a little dirt. He didn’t shun our imperfection, but fully immersed himself in it. The mess and all the flaws are part of being human!

Jesus didn’t avoid the stable, and he doesn’t avoid our sin. This should fill us with great hope and confidence. We don’t have to be perfect to receive him. There may even be times when we feel like we don’t “smell” much better than a stable! But that doesn’t matter to Jesus. The love that moved him to embrace our humanity is the same love that moves him to embrace each of us, imperfect though we are.

So remember the stable today and rejoice. You have an awesome, merciful, loving, all-powerful God—and he has come to live in your heart. No wonder the angels are singing! No wonder the shepherds were awestruck, and the wise men bowed down in worship! And no wonder we are all moved to rejoice on this glorious day! Merry Christmas!

“Jesus, thank you for the stable! Thank you for loving us as we are. Please help us to make room in our hearts for you to be born in a deeper, richer way! We want to be people who share you message of joy and hope to all that we meet. We ask this in your blessed name. Amen”

I remain yours in the name of the God who comes,

+Roger Ames

Bishop, Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes   Website

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