Posted by: jslion | December 15, 2013

Meditation on the transformation of a stable

When I was a small child, I remember hearing the story of the baby Jesus.  I heard about Mary & Joseph, how they went to Bethlehem, but found no room at the inn, and gave birth to Jesus in a stable.  Of course at five or six, I had no understanding of theology, but I did grasp the idea that the son of God was born in a stable and laid in a manger.  In my mind, that Stable and Manger were places of beauty and magnificence.  The stable was a place filled with light and angles and the manger was a glorious golden bed fit for a king.  When I was much older, I bought a farm in Fauquier county and moved into “the country”.   One of the things I had on my farm was a run – in shed. Soon I succumbed to the strange illness that affects so many out here, and added some donkeys and horses to run in and out of the shed.  One time, when I went out to clean the shed, I was struck by a realization.  My run in shed was essentially a stable.  The old feeding bucket I had set up was actually a manger.  That brought up another realization.  If you own horses you know what is on the floor of a stable.  For those of you who are not afflicted with the need to own horses, you can probably guess, but I’ll tell you anyway.  It is mostly horse…manure.  And the wet straw is not wet from spilled water.  A stable is in reality a dirty, unsanitary place smelling of animal waste.  You might choose to spend the night in one, but only if you had  no other choice.    When Jesus was born in that stable, however, it was transformed.  In our minds the stable, full of animal waste and bugs is transformed from an object of filth and degradation into  an object of unspeakable beauty.    In later years it was physically transformed into the beautiful Church of the Nativity.  A common, filthy, unassuming building transformed into a holy place because  Jesus was born in it.    By being born in a stable, Jesus transformed it almost beyond our ability to imagine.    What then happens to us, if we allow Jesus to be born in our hearts?  Even if our lives seem sometimes to be filled with the contents of a stable.   If Jesus is born within us, would we not also be transformed beyond our wildest imagination?

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