Friday, December 13, 2013

Angels Puzzled

Eeeww!  Don't sit there!  Watch it!  Oop!  You just sat in a cow pie!  Whew, that smells!  Nasty!

This is how I grabbed the attention of 25 elementary students.  There was no real muck, only pretend.  Yet, they actually looked to check.

We have this idea in our minds of adorable manger scenes, rustic in hay and quaint barns.  But any real farmer knows that the barnyard is not always clean, nor does it smell pleasant.  Jesus left the splendor and glory of heaven to come to . . . this? 

If only the mud and manure were all Jesus had to endure!  But that barnyard atmosphere was symbolic of the unholy nature of our humanity, our waywardness.  Jesus, brilliant in perfection, was willing to be made flesh and dwell among us.

God did not save us from a distance.  No, He came near, even so close as to touch our yuck.  This came home to me as I studied the life of Esther this past year.   She too would touch the untouchable.  King Xerxes was used material.  To become his queen meant that Esther share him with hundreds of others.  In order to save her people, she had to touch filth.

Esther gave up her dream of a one-woman man, a man who would sweep her off her feet with eyes only for her.  She gave up her community of friends and family.  She surrendered the hope of children.  The harem was degrading, an appalling way for anyone to live, let alone for a godly, innocent, Jewish young woman.

This causes me to overflow in complete gratitude for what Jesus endured.  Suddenly, His death on the cross becomes very real to me.  He laid aside his dignity, cut off from descendants.  He was degraded and humiliated, falsely accused and made fun of . . . that I might draw near.

No wonder angels baffle over our great salvation.  This is joy to the world.  Our Lord has come!  

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