I know I'd heard it all before - probably at least 30 times, once each December that I've been alive, but you know how it is - sometimes you have to be open to hearing something. The sermon last week was really good. He* talked about how the census was being held and why people (aka Joseph and Mary) were traveling even though she was about to pop out a kid and all. And how back in the day, people allowed travelers to stay in the extra rooms of their homes - it was the degenerates, crooks, freaks and weirdos that stayed in the Inn. But since it was census time, there really were no extra rooms to be found. And how the Inn was really lots of little cave dwellings (kind of in a circle) with the stable in the middle so that the riff-raff could keep an eye on their animals. And even though there was no room at the Inn, the Innkeeper said that Mr. and Mrs. Christ could stay in the stable, probably just so they would get out of his way. The baby Jesus was born right there in the middle of that Innkeeper's property, but he was so caught up in everything else that was going on, he missed it.
Now, stop for a second. Have you ever stepped in dog poo? I have, and it is nasty. You know it is nasty. Now imagine that you are not stepping in dog poo, but also horse and cow and sheep and goat and rabbit feces. Don't forget the mice and snakes and spiders. This stable was full of (bleep.)** There is no other way to describe it. And Mary wasn't just stepping in it, she was GIVING BIRTH.
The point is this: The story could have worked out differently. I mean, being the son of God has it's perks, and a nice, comfortable, indoor dwelling probably could have been arranged. However, the stable was chosen as the place of Christ's birth to teach us a lesson - to represent that even in the midst of chaos, pain, loneliness, frustration, uncertainty or heartache, He is there. All of those things that make up all of the (bleep) that we go through on a daily basis - He chose to be right in the middle of it. Hopefully I won't be like the Innkeeper - so caught up in my own life that I miss seeing him there, smack dab in the middle of it all.
*Dave Haney, Riverbend Church
** four letter word that starts with "s"