NO ROOM?? Was the Holiday Inn full?

Did ‘no room in the inn’ mean an ‘oversight’ in the plan of God? Was the Holiday Inn booked solid and God forgot to make reservations? I’ve asked these questions and wondered at why, when the Father had taken such care to fulfill every word of prophecy in the old Testament, did he not provide a better place for His son to be born? As we have told this story over and over in many different ways it appears that Joseph and Mary were left to depend on the mercy of an un-named inn keeper who happened to have an empty stable for them to give birth to the King of Kings! I was delighted to find the work of Cooper Abrams, who has given me some answers to my questions.

First, let’s look at the shepherds. This was not just any flock nor were these your average shepherds. These sheep were destined for Temple sacrifices and the shepherds who kept them were men who were specifically trained for this royal task by the Rabbis. It was their job to make sure that none of the animals were hurt, damaged, or blemished, and that each lamb exactly fulfilled the specifications for the Temple. It was their responsibility to proclaim, “This lamb is THE Lamb for the Passover celebration!” And being themselves under special Rabbinical oversight, they would strictly maintain a ceremonially clean stable for a birthing place. These shepherds customarily kept their flocks outdoors twenty-four hours a day every day of the year, but brought the ewes into the ‘birthing cave’ to deliver their lambs.

It was to these shepherds that the angels said that they would find the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. The angels did not say which manger. But there was no need for the angels to give these shepherds directions to the birth place. When the angelic announcement came, they knew exactly where to go, as Luke 2 indicates, for the sign of a manger could only mean their manger! The Passover lamb had been born!  Yes, this was not an overlooked detail, but instead a very strategic, ceremonially clean, prepared place for this lamb, the Son of God himself to be born!

So I invite you to put aside the images of smelly stables with donkeys and cows. Come rather to Migdal Eder, the Tower of the Flock just outside Bethlehem on the road to Jerusalem, where the lambs were born that would be offered as sacrifices in the Temple for the cleansing of sin.

Come and join the shepherds, not mere ignorant laborers but those charged with the care of the sacrificial lambs. Join these schooled men with knowledgeable teaching of the Scriptures and the Rabbis who knew at once where to find the one born to be Savior, Messiah and Lord.

Come and kneel with them as they examined this lamb and pronounced that He was without blemish or defect and was qualified to walk those three miles to Jerusalem and give his life as a Sacrifice on the Cross to take away your sins and mine.

This Christmas may we encounter the Lamb of God, without spot of Blemish! May we be like the shepherds who returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

“One Moment”

Oh! How I love our Father! His unchanging character, his word, and his amazing, breathtaking love which he lavishes upon us! I felt that love today as I took a walk out my back door to soak in the color of the leaves and the crisp chill of an autumn afternoon.

I was astounded at the beautiful colors of fall! And the glorious sun set that painted the sky just for me to enjoy!! You know Father really didn’t have to make nature so magnificent! He could have had the sun go up and down, no difference from day to day. And he could have made the trees all the same, going from green, to brown, then bare. But no! That is not his character!  He wanted to daily display His glory so that somehow we might catch a glimpse of His spectacular, creative power! To daily woo us into a deeper relationship with him. But sadly, many times it all goes unnoticed. We miss his message because of our busy schedules and our preoccupation with our own lives and issues.

But, you know, that doesn’t seem to stop God or even slow him down. The very next day he paints yet another master piece in the sky, hoping that this day, we will stop, take a deep breath, notice and enjoy a moment with Him! A moment not asking for anything. A moment to connect with the creator artist and say, “WOW!’

And that, my friend, is what it was all about: a moment of shared pleasure.

And in that one moment I believe he smiles and we feel His pleasure!  In that one moment we are at peace with creation and with our creator! And in that one moment he whispers, “You are worth it!”

I wonder if that was what it was like in the garden? Are we, in that one moment, transported back to the place of perfect alignment with creation and with God. Is that what Adam and God shared on the Sabbath day? Did they simply enjoy the sunsets, the colors of the trees, the crisp cool air? Is that what this ‘one moment’ is about? To remind me that there is more? To remind me there is a place of pleasure that transcends any earthly knowledge? To remind me what it is like when ALL is in alignment with Him?

Is that what Jesus meant when he prayed, “Father, make us one, as you and I are one.” and, “Let your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.”  Is this ‘one moment’ what heaven feels like on earth? I hope so. Because this ‘one moment’ is glorious! Full of delight, joy and peace!

Yes, my friend, that is what this ‘one moment’ is all about: Heaven on earth! Communion with our Great God! So I challenge you to take ‘one moment.’ Experience Him in His creation! Stop and really see the masterpiece that he painted just for you in the sunset! Count the stars! Smell the autumn air! Drink in the colors! Take ‘one moment’ and let him surprise you with His joy! Because you are worth it!

My! What an amazing, extravagant God we serve!

Today, I snapped some pictures with my iPhone. Hope you enjoy!

 

My Front Yard

 

Neighbor’s Pear Tree (thanks, for planting these Linda!)

 

My Mums
My Crepe Myrtles

 

My little red bush
Last bloom of summer