By Erik Segalini
Does that idea strike you wrong? Jesus was born homeless.
The first nativity wasn’t cute. The sheep didn’t bah out a lullaby, the straw probably itched from crawling insects, and the stable smelled like livestock and manure.
Oh Holy Night? Somebody clean up this mess!
Yet the King of glory did not clean it up. He entered our mess by way of a food trough, disregarded by all the important people in town, all the people who mattered. Instead, Jesus was welcomed by a scared young couple and bunch of smelly shepherds.
At New Beginnings of Central Florida, the irony of Christmas is not lost on us. The season of hope and joy was birthed on a decidedly lonely and uncertain night.
We serve men, women and children of Central Florida who know what it is like to be unseen and overlooked in the middle of a busy street.
These people know what it means to have someone stare right through you.
In fact, some of the people we serve at New Beginnings have travelled a long way down from riches and success. No one ever expected to fall so far and land so low.
No one except Jesus the Savior, who left His throne by His own choice because of love, because of the rescue plan of the Father. Because of redemption.
Emmanuel. God with us.
And even after Jesus grew to become a man, then died and returned to life, He made sure we didn’t miss this message of Him seeing us, understanding us, being close to our lowest moment.
In other words, He reminded us that sometimes holy work happens in the dirt. And right there, in the lowest place, we discover God with us.
In the Bible we read this explanation of this shocking truth:
“Now that we know what we have – – Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God – – let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all – – all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to Him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help” (Hebrews 4:14-16, The Message translation).
This Christmas, bend low and peer into the barn to meet the God who loves you beyond imagination.
No, He does not stare down His nose at you. Christmas’ humble beginnings remind us that He understands, firsthand, what hope looks like in the dark.
This Christmas, we celebrate Jesus; the Author of new beginnings, the Anchor of our faith, the Light of the world.
Lyricist Andrew Peterson reminds us, “It was not a silent night, there was blood on the ground…and the stable was not clean and the cobblestones were cold.”
And there – – where no one expected to see it, was hope, peace.
A new beginning.