Thursday, December 25, 2008

Smelly Night, Holy Night

A few weeks ago, I took my high-school-aged neighbor to the FFA barn to take care of his pig while his parents were out of town. It wasn't the first time I had been to the barn, but the same thing strikes me every time I visit: That place stinks!!!

It's disgusting, really. Smells like manure and unwashed large animals. If you've never experienced this lovely aroma, you really should look up your local FFA barn and take a little trip there to sniff around.

Have you ever thought about the first Christmas, with Mary giving birth to the Savior of the world amongst pigs covered in slop, in a dirty, dingy barn? Can you imagine how much that sucked?

Last night, at Christmas Eve church, we sang "Silent Night." I don't really buy the lyrics in this one. I think this night was anything but silent. Anything but calm.

I hear Mary screaming in pain with each unmedicated contraction. I hear the cows groaning and mooing and the goats rustling around. I hear the chaotic crowd, right outside the dingy cave, each family trying desperately to find somewhere, anywhere to sleep that night after such a long and stressful journey. I hear a slimy, disgusting baby cry out as the cold and unfamiliar air hits him for the first time on Earth. And then I hear Joseph crying out with joy when he's allowed to come back in to see his borrowed son for the first time.

I realize it could have been the perfect nativity scene that the song, statues and paintings depict, but I kind of prefer the image I have: a perfect Savior born in an imperfect body, in an imperfect world, to save a lot of very imperfect people.

Sounds perfect to me.


Jamie McLaughlin said...

Beautiful Thank you!

Jessica Latshaw said...

wow, mandy--Love this! great minds and all that:) beautiful.