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Imperfectly Perfect Stable- By Samuel Ludington

Holy Cross - Monday, December 02, 2013

This year Pastor decided to do an Advent Sermon Series entitled "Journey to the Stable" in which he will speak on the significance of certain aspects of the stable. He had the "brilliant" idea of building an entire stable as part of the Christmas decorations. This would ordinarily be a great idea to serve as a visual representation on the subject he was teaching. The idea went sour when I was one of the people who participated in the construction of set stable. I, in no estimation, am gifted in the realm of construction and so I made A LOT of mistakes. Pastor in all his graciousness would always encourage me saying, "It's a stable, it's not supposed to be perfect."

As I began to think about it I realized just how true that statement was and just how grateful for the reality of that truth. The reality is that the stable which housed God was imperfectly perfect. Why would God choose such an imperfect and seemingly insignificant location to make His grand entrance to humanity? His desired accommodations for His welcome party speak two important aspects of His life and purpose:

1. He does not expect perfection, He perfects imperfection.

While history has painted a quaint portrait in which Jesus was born, the reality is that these accommodations would be less than ideal for a new born. A stable was used to house animals and the "beautiful manger" is a feeding trough, which most likely had remnants of food for the animals. Given the structure's function, there was probably little attention paid to its construction and maintenance. It was most likely built using scrap materials and certainly would not have been designed to accommodate humans, let alone God incarnate. In spite of all of its imperfections the stable was made imperfectly perfect because of the presence of the Savior. What Jesus was demonstrating in choosing this stable for his birth as opposed to luxury accommodations is that He didn't come to seek perfection, He left that in Heaven, rather He chooses that which is imperfect to manifest His love. He does exactly that with humanity! Romans 5:8 says, "God demonstrates his love for us in this; for while we were still sinners Christ died for us." Like the stable, we too are riddled with imperfections and sin, and yet Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection has perfected us, making us righteous in His sight.

2. The stable wasn't an exclusive welcome party.

One would expect that God's welcome party would include world leaders, the wealthy and the who's who in society. Rather those present at the stable included a teenage mother, a confused "step-father", angels, shepherds, animals and eventually "wise men" from a foreign land. The guest list again speaks volumes to Jesus' mission and purpose. The majority of Jesus' earthly ministry was spent with the least likely individuals: prostitutes, tax collectors, lepers and the poor. Jesus certainly was not exclusive in His social networks, and that manifested itself both in his birth and life. Yet, I find it interesting that eventually the wise men arrived to join the festivities. What this represents is a convergence of seemingly unlikely social groups. Shepherds were ostracized and relegated to socialize with each other and their sheep. Conversely, the "Wise Men" were among the most celebrated and learned individuals in society. In the stable, we see these two unlikely social groups intersect for one purpose, Jesus the Messiah. Jesus did not come exclusively for one group, or another, rather Jesus died for all humanity.

This Advent season, we invite you to join us on our "Journey to the Stable," as we explore different aspects of the Christmas story. We will learn more about the stable and all of its imperfections, but more importantly we will learn about Jesus who makes the imperfect perfect.

Comments
Justin Trujillo commented on 02-Dec-2013 11:23 PM
Great blog post Sammy!! very true!!
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