Late Afternoon Christmas Eve

Read Luke 2: 6-7

 

What kind of host sticks a girl about to give birth in a stable? A kind one, perhaps.

 

We tend to think about things from our modern perspective.

 

An inn is clean. A stable is dirty. An inn is warm. A stable is cold. An inn is private. A stable is open.

 

But things were different at the time of Jesus’s birth. Inns were dark and dusty places with dirt floors and no heating. The sleeping areas were common rooms shared by many. They didn't have beds with linens. They had straw on the floor— bring your own blanket, find your own corner. You couldn't run a hot bath or check out a crib at the front desk. The stable, on the other hand, was most likely a dry cave— no different than most of the homes in town. If the inn had been empty, it might have been the better choice. But it was full. There was no room— no appropriate space— for a woman about to give birth.

 

 So the master of the house asked his guests to move their animals from the cave behind or below his inn. He swept out the dirty old straw and replaced it with the same fresh straw he would have laid down for them in his inn. He added more new straw to the stone manger where the donkeys had been feeding and— lo and behold— the perfect crib.

 

He lit a fire at the opening of the cave and invited the young couple in to shelter for the night. He gave them the gift of privacy— the blessing of dignity.

 

On this Christmas Eve, Lord, help me be a good host by cleaning out my life and preparing it to be the perfect place for you to take up residence. Keep me from pushing you into a dark and dusty corner. Transform my humble life into a holy sanctuary for you. Amen.

 

[She] placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:7b

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