How many years have you heard the message of the baby born in Bethlehem? And how many versions, either exquisitely beautiful or painfully rendered, have you heard of “Silent Night”? Not only can we get caught up in the wrappings and trappings of Christmas, too busy to do much more than shop, bake and clean, but we also get dangerously close to a ho hum attitude about the Word made flesh. In my “reading-the-Bible-through-using-the-English- Standard-Version” devotions, I purposely left the Gospel of Luke for now because I want to read and ponder the timeless story as told by Dr. Luke.
For one thing, I spent time with the phrase about Mary’s pondering. Synonyms like “meditate, concentrate, mull over, ruminate and study” slowed me down in a good way by giving different nuances.
Then I opened a Christmas card from a friend in our Bible study and stopped when I saw the poem she had added to her card. Lesley Leyland Field’s gentle reminder brought the incarnation into sharp focus.
Let the Stable Still Astonish!
“Let the stable still astonish:
Straw-dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain.
And then, the child.
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry
In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said ‘Yes,
Let the God of all the heavens and
Earth be born here, is this place’?
Who but the same God who stands
In the darker, fouler rooms of
Our hearts and says,
‘Yes, let the God of heaven and Earth
Be born here – in this place.”