She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger. (Luke 2:7)
“Dad, what does defecate refer to?” This innocent question from my young son sparked a lengthy discussion of the various excretions commonly connected to the word. There are quite a lot of them. Poo, dung, bowel movements—you get the idea. I’ll stop there. What do all these words have in common? They’re gross. Dealing with fecal matter is a constant part of life, especially when you’re caring for pets or young human beings. It’s necessary, but it’s nasty. We try to get rid of the sight and smell of this waste as quickly as possible. We flush it, bury it, or throw it away.
The fact that Jesus was born in a manger has lost its shock value for most of us. If only we could engage our noses in the reading of the Christmas story instead of just our eyes and ears. Then we could smell the presence of the animals. The filth. The unthinkable inadequacy of this barn as the birthplace of the Savior of the world. What a bad first impression of planet Earth. Yet Jesus humbled himself.
This birthplace signals an important theme in his life. Jesus went to places, and people, that everyone considered a waste of time. No sinner was too filthy to receive a visit from Jesus. He cared for even the most deplorable people—then and now.
Serve someone whom society considers “a waste of time.”
Jarod Osborne is lead pastor of Pathway [Wesleyan] Church, in Warsaw, Indiana. He is the author of “Jaded Faith” (WPH).
© 2021 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.