And she brought forth her firstborn Son,
and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths,
and laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.
~ Luke 2:7 (NKJV) ~
Did your mother ever say to you, “Were you born in a barn?” because you left the front or back door open? The truth is most of us were born in a hospital or clinic—my husband and daughter were. I was born at home. I’ve never met anyone who was born in a barn or stable; but I do know Jesus was born in a place where animals were kept.
On the 23rd of this month I was at a high school Christmas play and had the “pleasure” of smelling a sheep as it passed in front of me. Though clean, Tina the sheep emitted a distinctive “animal fragrance.”
Tina’s scent got me thinking of Jesus’ birthplace—a place that most likely stunk. The animal menagerie that stayed there weren’t as clean as Tina the sheep. Think about it, did Joseph and Mary have time to clean up the place? Maybe or maybe not. Either way, it wasn’t sanitary, it wasn’t neat; it wasn’t a place where women give birth, yet that’s where God the Father chose to have His Son born.
Still, if you think about it, it’s the perfect location for His birth! Why? Because Jesus came to save us from the sin that stinks up our lives. Maybe that’s why God compares us to sheep. Not only do we share similar characteristics, we also get ourselves into things that we shouldn’t and end up dirty with sin and stink of it. Maybe others can’t smell us, but God can.
Jesus, who can truthfully answer “Yes, I was born in a barn,” left a door open to reconciliation with His Father. He guards that door so that none can enter it without going through Him. Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life”; He is the gatekeeper to the fold: “I am the door of the sheep….If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture….I am the good shepherd” John 14:6; 10:7, 9, 11.
I’m thankful I “met” Tina the sheep because it gave me a different perspective on why Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice in leaving His heavenly home. From a lowly birth in a place that was fit for animals, Jesus overcame the world through His death and resurrection, so that we would no longer stink with sin, but have the “fragrance” of Jesus.
You may not have been born in a barn, but you can enter into the door that was left open for you by Jesus. He succeeded in reconciling us to His Father so that you can enter into a relationship with Him. Don’t think about what you’ve done, don’t make any excuses; take a leap of faith and run into Jesus’ arms. He’s waiting for you. You’ll be accepted, no questions asked. Won’t you come now?
Dear Father, You loved us and gave Your Son Jesus, “so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16 (NLT). Thank You, Father. Thank You, Jesus. It’s in Your name that we pray, amen.