When you think of the aromas of Christmas, what comes to mind?
Pine. Peppermint. Fresh baked bread. Snickerdoodles. Honey baked ham. Mulled cider. A warm and cozy fire.
All pleasant. Cozy. Enveloping.
What about poop? What about cow, donkey, and the ever odoriferous pig?
Once upon a lifetime ago, I worked at a Shell Gas Station, ringing up customers in the convenience store. We were a farm community. The local large animal vet would work with students from a nearby college. Everyday they would come through the store for snacks and sodas–and their odor always proceeded them.
And lingered long after they left…way too long.
As I listened to a customer complaining about the pungent smell one day I found myself thinking about the stable where Jesus was born. I don’t imagine it smelled of pine and cinnamon. No it smelled like a barn, with animals…and manure.
About the closest most folks get to that is once a year when they traipse off to the county or state fair.
Why would God choose to be born in that manner, in that kind of place?
He’s not afraid of or put off by any mess in our lives.
Psalm 139 paints the clear picture that there is no height or depth that God will not go in pursuing us. He loves us that much.
He is not repulsed by the stink of our lives, the rottenness of our sins. His love is relentless as it it lavish.
There’s a funny thing about poop. We try and mask the smell with pretty smells. But all we end up with is cinnamon poop.
Perhaps God sent his son into the world, to a stable, to lay in a manger so that we would realize his amazing love for us and so that we would find him and quit trying to cover our messes.
For God so loved…