Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Hey! Hey! Hey! Listen up! Unto you a Child is born! It’s Jesus! And He’s in the barn! Go on, go in!”

Luke 2: 10-11 (Translation by Gladys Herdman from “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”)

It was Gladys Herdman’s first exposure to the Christmas story recorded in the Gospel of Luke. The same for her five brothers and sisters—troublemakers, living in squalor and by their wits on the east side of town. At least that’s how their characters were depicted in the made-for-TV movie—“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”

Gladys heard the words of the Angel through the “God-proper” filter of Luke’s writing as read to her by the pageant director—

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,

which is Christ the Lord…”

Nice. Proper. Pious almost. How you might hear it read in most churches of today. Full of respect, yet often empty of the energy and hope intended by the hand and heart of God.

Yet when Gladys Herdman heard those words for the first time, something happened. It seemed to penetrate her heart differently, almost as if it really happened, almost as if it was a moment God was really excited about.

Almost as if it was happening again.

And then when Gladys read it, it came alive afresh and anew for her and all who heard her proclaim it that night, at that Christmas pageant never to be forgotten—

Hey! Hey! Hey! Listen up! Unto you a Child is born! It’s Jesus!

And He’s in the barn! Go on, go in!”

In a few weeks, we celebrate that moment of so-long-ago again. I wonder if we will feel that it is something of long-ago—or something of today, fresh and anew for each of us. I wonder if when we read the scripture it will sound nice and poetic and calming, perhaps even reassuring in its tradition. Or will it seem real, exploding into our lives, maybe really happening again, for all the days and moments of our lives.

The bills for the Christmas presents will be coming in January. Maybe this is the first Christmas for one of you without the laughter of your wife or husband. Cancer has hit a loved one and the treatment is almost crippling. You’re at a bend in the road of a relationship, trying to figure out which way to go. That old “seasonal lowness” has struck again—something from long-ago that wasn’t your fault has you on the road to depressed feelings. The year 2015 of your life is over and you wonder if anything or anybody is any better off because you lived.

Hey! Hey! Hey! Listen up!…”

Two thousand years ago. The picture of a young mother and a confused father in a whole lot of trouble. No money. No place to go. No doctor. No regular work. And no vacation pay for their travels to Bethlehem to be a part of some Roman census. The baby would be born in a filthy manger, instead of a palace where He deserved to be so He could greet the world properly—with handmaidens, a physician or two, in the guest suite of the king, with fresh and fine linens and warm and soft comforters.

Hey! Hey! Hey! Listen up! Unto you a child is born!…”

Talk about a sense of humor. The first appearance of the Son of God—in a stinky, stale, dark, dank and moldy manger, full of itchy, sticky, filthy straw, smelly animals and all the smells they tend to leave behind. Why?

Because God knew what our lives were like. He knew what some of our tomorrows would be like. He knows they often feel just like His Son, and Mary and Joseph, felt in that manger. And He comes to join us where we are. He meets us in our best places, and in our worst places. He finds us in our palaces and in our mangers. Think back in your lives—He has always found us and been with us.

Hey! Hey! Hey! Listen up! Unto you a child is born! It is Jesus!…

And it’s happening again. Something different. Something very real. Something for you and for me. Something for today, tomorrow and all of our tomorrows. Something for our mountaintops and our valleys, our palaces and our mangers.

A Savior who has been where we have been. A Savior who has experienced the crud and nostril-filling stench of our mangers, the desperation and the hopelessness of our lives. A Savior who knows that sometimes we can’t see our way out.

It’s Christmas, and once again the reminder of the Good News is that—

He’s been there, and He knows the way out.

Hey! Hey! Hey! Listen up! Unto you a Child is born! It’s Jesus!

And He’s in the barn! Go on, go in!”

Merry Christmas to each of you and to your families and friends.

May you sense anew the reality of the Baby born in a manger so long ago—

here today and tomorrow…for you and for me,

in all of our palaces and all of our mangers,

for all of our todays and all of our tomorrows,

and all the way into eternity with Him.

In His Name—Scott

Copyright 2015. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.