The Stable

"There was no place for them at the inn." -Lk. 2:7

I used to be an inkeeper. My life was so filled with the temporary guests and transient visitors of this world that I had no space for Jesus. It wasn't that I cared about the people and things upon which I lavished so much time and care; it was simply that I could not afford to let them go. What a cost to my reputation it would be if I stopped swearing, stopped laughing at crude jokes, stopped dressing in the latest, revealing styles! Who would stop by my inn if I made room for Christ? No, I had an image to uphold: I was the keeper of an inn that invited all the latest trends, all the coolest people, all the riches of the world. A young wife gasping in labor and about to give birth to a child? A baby, still in the womb, lauded as the perfect Son of God? 

Sorry, no space here.

"When Herod the king heard [the wise mens' news], he was troubled ... he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem." -Mt. 2:3, 16

I used to be a ruler. Herod was my name, and, although I didn't personally know this Jesus, I had heard enough about him to decide that he was my ultimate enemy. A King who would grow to be greater than me? Could anyone dare to even think of pushing me off my throne? No, I was the center of the universe. My needs came first, my glory was sought before anyone else's. Could a carpenter's son tell me otherwise? I would not stand for anyone trying to rule over me. To be my guide? To make me conform to a standard other than my own? The thought disgusted me, and I set out to destroy anything that even mildly smacked of this Son of God. Prayers and hymns were put out of my mind. The name of God I dragged through the dust, trying to empty it of its glory. I was certain that the Messiah had to exist somewhere -- in organized religion, maybe, or in stained-glass windows, in nativity sets, or perhaps in the syllables "Jee-zus." So I slayed those things, taking care that not even a fragment of them should remain near me.

I was an innkeeper and I was a ruler. I rejected my savior and persecuted my God. Salvation was for the weak; I sure didn't need it. I had all I wanted: I was rich, and powerful, and important.

Or, at least, I thought I was. But, in reality, I was a sad, sorry sight. A dirty stable, cold and worn to bits, with loose boards and a caving roof. I was smelly and full of waste. My walls were stained and my floor was a sea of wet, sticky mud. I was a foul, disorganized, broken mess.

And God chose to lay the Savior in me.

In my empty manger, God placed the Bread of Life. On my dark, shivering floor, God placed his warmth and light. Into my dirt, God placed the world's purest soul. And into my lonely silence, God placed the sacred cries of a child who would become my King. 

It's then I realised that my famous inn and my great kingdom were but illusions. Suddenly, my riches seemed like dust in my hands, and I saw that all my past glory was nothing but a foolish mirage. That knowledge broke me; it hurt to feel my poverty and see my ugliness. But that night, as the star shone over me and as angels sang above my roof, I felt myself starting to become rich in a whole new way. I, the run-down stable, had become a dwelling place of God. My worthlessness was being transformed into purpose, and my affliction into peace.

The innkeeper in me vacated his rooms and the Herod I'd been stepped off of the throne, because now, the King of the galaxies was alive in me. 

And, even if I'd had the whole universe laid out before me for the taking, I couldn't have asked for a better gift than that.

Merry Christmas.

Photo from JupiterImages. Verses from ESV.


Brianna said...

This is beautiful Oksana!
How true! thanks so much for sharing...
I just found your blog and will be coming back...

Oksana said...

Thank you so much for your comment! :)


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I'm Oksana—Communication major, shutterbug, occasional blogger, incessant doodler, graphic design geek, and writer of sentimental prose. I am quite content to spend an afternoon with a pencil, a few blank Moleskine pages, and a playlist of indie folk. I love musical theatre, black-&-white movies, and Eastern European illustration. Conversations with strangers make my day. When it rains, I make a beeline for my mug of green tea and stack of 19th-century fiction. I'm vegetarian about 98% of the time. I'm extremely awkward and rather nerdy. I love the sea. My name means 'hosanna' and I'm having the time of my life living to praise the One who set me free.

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