December 23, 2014

Luke 2:6-7 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

This is one of the most famous happenings in the whole Bible, and as such has been analyzed to death. This past year I read an explanation that said that houses had a “livestock room” attached, so the birth was in a private home rather than a barn. That is possible, but I still lean strongly toward the traditional story, to the point of it being a cave, just as it is in The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, since even today caves in the Bethlehem area are used to house livestock. The whole point of the story is that the Lord of Glory didn’t force His way in anywhere, but accepted the most humble of circumstances for His birth. I do understand that Bethlehem was a small village at the time and there was quite probably only one inn, and that not a large one. The thing is, Jesus still waits for an invitation before He comes in. It wasn’t until Mary said, “Let it be to me according to your word,” that the Holy Spirit worked His miracle in her fallopian tube. Likewise, He doesn’t barge His way into people’s hearts, just as is expressed so famously in Revelation 3:20. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Since I deal a lot with medical things, it is interesting to me that we are only recently coming back to the wisdom that was traditional for Mary, of wrapping newborns in cloth. Since they are used to the confines of the womb, they feel much more secure that way and experience less “birth trauma,” at least on a psychological level.

My task is, of course, to persuade people to invite Jesus in as Lord. Some want to have Him as Helper but not as Lord, and that doesn’t work. Some would like Him to stay as a baby in a manger, to be brought out on Sundays and special occasions only, and that certainly doesn’t work! I can’t convince anyone to open their heart and life to Him in my own wisdom and strength, but the Holy Spirit can use me to do the job, and I’ve got to stay available. I’ve also got to be sure there’s no area of my own life in which I’m excluding Him. I’ve had several opportunities already this season to issue God’s invitation, and I will have another big one at our candlelight service tomorrow. I know what I would delight to see happen, but I’ve got to leave it in God’s hands, praying and being faithful to do my part.

Father, I do pray for all to whom You allow me to issue Your invitation. I pray for those who will be at the wedding I’ll be doing this afternoon, those who will hear us caroling this evening, and especially those who will be at the service tomorrow. I pray that every hindrance will be removed, to physical attendance and especially to spiritual openness. May Your love penetrate, leading many to repentance and faith, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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