MEDITATION: Don’t miss the coming of the child – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

Posted: December 24, 2019 at 2:47 pm


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Contrary to popular opinion, an ill-paid, grumpy clerk at some small-town motor inn did not turn away Mary and Joseph during the busy season. Thats good pulpit fodder but poor Bible reading.

On orders from Caesar, Joseph had taken his pregnant fiancee to stay with his family for their tiny part in an imperial census-taking, and since the familys guest house was stuffed with other visitors (i.e., there was no room in the inn), the expectant mother required emergency accommodations.

Also contrary to popular opinion, the one called Jesus was not born in a barn. More than likely, mother birthed him in a cave, not far from the family residence but isolated enough for some privacy and perhaps even an odd feeling of coziness. Gospel readers will not miss the interest, since Jesus liked to pray in caves and was buried in a cave, too. Here is where a storyteller might ask us, Now, where do you usually find buried treasure?

And dont assume that a mother laying her baby in an animal feeding trough (she laid him in a manger) to be an insult or indignity, but rather, do assume it to be an infant kinship with all living creatures. Ask a good farmer sometime how he feels about his cows and horses and even chickens and pigs.

The fact of Jesus coming into this world in fragile, earthy, almost obscenely ordinary circumstances does find its way into most press releases and church newsletters. This is fortunate, because the scenario carries with it a crucial paradox. Ninety-nine percent of the time, God will never be where you expect. The people you overlook, the places you pass by and all your tattered and embarrassing humanness that you carefully hide? There lies the bed for the coming child of Christmas. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).

The Rev. Eugene Stockstill is pastor of Ebenezer United Methodist Church and Myrtle United Methodist Church in Union County.

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MEDITATION: Don't miss the coming of the child - Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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December 24th, 2019 at 2:47 pm

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