On Christmas Eve, the wind howled. The snowfall was fast and furious. Everything had been cancelled from flights to Christmas Eve Church Services.
I heard this voice coming from long ago. I am ashamed to say it wasn’t a bible verse or from a dear long gone grandparent. It was the voice of Santa:
“I am sorry folks, everything’s been cancelled. There is no way I can get my sleigh off the ground.”
Somehow my mind drifted into that silly sentimental Christmas Special. Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer, is made fun of and labeled a misfit. Santa realizes he actually needs him. You know the song: “Rudolph with your nose so bright. Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight? His red nose that glowed, the thing that made him the misfit, was what made him the hero in the end. Christmas, at least in the childlike secular sense, happened.
I looked out the kitchen window to watch the blizzard perform. The manger scene glowed under the layer of snow that trimmed the top. I could see the baby Jesus and Mary. But Joseph wasn’t lit up. He was nearly buried in snow. Whether you are reading Matthew or Luke, Joseph doesn’t seem to be on the scene much at all. After he and Mary find Jesus in the temple talking to all the other smart men, his name isn’t found. He seems minor compared to Mary in the grand scheme of things. But he married Mary, the mother of Jesus. He took care of both of them. He provided for them. The young boy Jesus had a father and a mother who raised him. God chose him to be Jesus’s earthly father. Something major accomplished through a minor character.
O Little Town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie. I was glad for the Christmas music to accompany the snowfall. I don’t really know much about Bethlehem except that the city to most, seemed to have been so minor. There is a major city within walking distance. It’s name was Jerusalem. it still is. Around it was a Great Wall. A wall to protect the city so that it could thrive. In the book of Nehemiah, we are told that the wall was in need of repair. So many men pitched in. Malchijah was one of them. You will find him in Nehemiah 3 verse 14. This is what it says: Malchijah the son of Rehab, ruler of the district Beth-haccherem, repaired the Dung Gate. He rebuilt it and set its doors and its bars. Malchijah repaired the smelly, disgusting, Dung Gate. Not the Tower of Ovens, not the Fountain Gate, not any majestic part of the wall. He repaired the Dung Gate. Because he did, the wall was strong and the city was strong! Jerusalem was the city where Jesus preached and taught. It was the city where Jesus died. Did Malchijah wonder if what he did would be important? Who knows? But if he hadn’t done what he did, the wall of Jerusalem would not have been as strong. The wall is strongest if all it’s parts are strong. If Jerusalem had fallen, Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, a city so much smaller than Jerusalem, and walking distance from it, would have certainly fallen too. Two cities liked together for an important reason- all pointing to Jesus. Something so minute can be so important!
After wind, snow, and a streamed candlelight service, all there was to do was sleep It wasn’t going to be a silent night. We would continue to hear the wind but we trusted the morning would come and we would celebrate. Each Christmas we look for him. We look for him not in a display of a palace. We look for him in a creche. We find him not in a crib, but in a manger. The angels announced the Savior’s arrival with song. Shepherds saw and heard them and ran to see him. What did they find? A baby in a MANGER. A weak and helpless baby in an animal feeding trough. No room in the inn but there was a manger. A baby who would was really a King was sleeping in a manger. This was the Savior of the world. The Shepherd minors came to see someone so major though he was born in a manger. And in faith, they rejoiced.
The misfit, the minor, the minute, and most importantly the manger are part of my Christmas. The weak and humble are strong. Amazing somethings through something unexpected. May we all be on the look out for the misfit, the minor, and the minute experiences. There is where we find these miracles and purposes far behind our imagination and understanding.