While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:6-7
hurches today are definitely different than this stable, but in this season there are similarities that attract me to this idea: was this the first “church?” This manger was not an accident that happened in an overcrowded village at a busy time. God provided it. Don’t be fooled into believing any details of the birth of Jesus were God’s last-ditch effort to provide a place for Jesus because there was no room in the inn. God chose that stable and that food trough as a sacred space.
A stable isn’t the perfect structure I might have hoped for, but like every other church, availability matters. That first church wasn’t meant to be a place for privileged and perfect people, but for people who needed a “place.” A place where the curious could come and look to see whether what they’d heard was real. The things that made that “first” church perfect still matter. God still chooses to make his Son available there. There are still wise men and women who follow a Holy path and give the gifts they have. We still have shepherds who rise and boldly tell the story of what they hear and see. In this season we still sing “Gloria,” the music of praise-filled words we forget to speak the rest of the year. Today’s “modern stable” still holds the same promise of that first church: God has chosen it as a sacred space where the needs of the people and the holiness of God finally can meet, and come together.