Letting God lead us to the stable
As I imagine the first Christmas, God's way of unifying everyone -- likely and unlikely people -- over his Son and the mystery amazes me.
I imagine a stable filled with a man and a woman who don't know exactly what is going to happen, but whose hearts are full of hope, joy and expectation of a gift from God that's bigger than they're ready to understand right now. I imagine them holding their questions to God as they tenderly hold their precious new Son in their arms, excitement and fear being offered in worship to God as they let their trust and awe in him overcome everything else.
There are some animals nearby peacefully looking on, or maybe minding their own business, the soft crunching of their eating playing in the background. Maybe it's cold, maybe it's warm (I'm not sure what temperatures in Bethlehem are like), but their hearts are aglow because something greater is happening in this stable on this night, and they can feel it. God is up to something.
Then some shepherds walk in. I imagine they're kind of dirty from being in the fields with their sheep -- not the type of guys anyone expects to come in and confirm the birth of a Savior. But their lives have already been changed on this night by angels revealing the truth to them, and they have an energy about them -- a joy -- that makes people believe them when they say the baby is the Christ. Their hearts are rolling in great wonder and awe that a night that began as just another night on the job has ended in the presence of their Savior.
At some point in time, scholars come to offer their gifts, learned men who can afford expensive things and believe a long-distance journey following a star will lead them to someone truly worthy of their worship. After they find Jesus, they're so convinced they turn their back on the king they formerly sought help from to protect the new little King they've found is worthy of all they are.
All these people traveling to a stable to see a baby, wandering, brought together by their searching for answers, for hope of something more, something meaningful, something to make their existence more than just existence. It's a moment of quiet, peaceful expectation, a snapshot of hope in which the world knows everything is moving toward being made right.
Flash forward 2012 years, and it's us. We're the wise men and shepherds, the man and woman, with all of our questions and expectations and lives being woven together, the likely and the unlikely seeking someone to save us, a Savior to pour all of ourselves into, to be better than the world's offerings.
It's still him. The same God who launched his saving plan through the Savior in the stable all those years ago is the same God loving us today. I pray that this Christmas -- and every day -- we will let God lead us to the stable, making us peacemakers whose wonder and awe over Jesus transforms our hearts, making us one.
Mia Pohlman is a Perryville, Mo., native studying at Truman State University. She loves performing, God and the color purple -- not necessarily in that order.