Mostly, I have been a clean person. But, our daughter has introduced me to a very dirty world. You see, she loves animals, and, by their nature, animals are … dirty. I have always been a city girl, but I’ve become more comfortable with the lifestyle of animal ownership.
We started with a house cat before our daughter was born. With her encouragement, we moved on to a gerbil, and then to more cats. A horse came next, and I learned how to walk very carefully in stalls or pastures. Then, I washed off a steaming horse on a hot day – by myself! Finally, dogs joined her menagerie and I’ve become good with scooping up their debris on walks when they visit.
The latest adventure was when I helped our daughter farm-sit. She had become quite ill and the farm owners were out of the country. From her sick bed, she instructed me on mucking out the barn, which housed goats and chickens, cleaning the duck pond (that was the worst!), and taking care of 5 dogs and 5 cats.
At the farm, the sunrise mist between the mountains was breath-taking. After a few days, I surprised myself -- enjoying days that began at dawn, attending to the needs of the animals. Of course, I knew it was a short-term situation.
Last weekend, I went to the annual Christmas Pageant at our church. What a joyous celebration that was, with over 80 children participating. They sang with glee, bumped into each other, eagerly waved to parents, and were always adorable.
As I sat in that beautiful sanctuary, smiling at clean faces, hands and bare toes, I remembered that the first Christmas was quite different. The original Christmas stable was dirty. The regular inhabitants were busily chewing their hay. The water trough probably needed cleaning. Smelly animal droppings were everywhere, which was nothing new to people in that time. No wonder there was such an emphasis on washing one’s feet!
Yet, the faces of those new parents must have been even more radiant than those of the little ones in our pageant. God’s promise had just become truth to them. The real angels glowed even brighter. The shepherds were truly overwhelmed and reverent. The wise men must have been astounded at what they found upon arrival.
God’s light shone in that messy stable so many years ago, just like his truth shines in our messy hearts today. He is not dissuaded by sin or grime. He loves us despite our imperfections and bad choices. He invites us to meet him – and to connect with him. He bathes us in his love.
This Christmas, think of the mess, but be confident that any mess can be cleaned. Thanks be to God.
Until we meet again,
The Entrepreneur’s Friend
The Entrepreneur’s Friend® is a registered trademark of Wheaton Consulting Group LLC. Photo credits: All photos were taken by Cynthia Wheaton and owned by Wheaton Consulting Group LLC except as noted. Coffee cup art by Jim Wheaton. Author support: Fellow authors from The Wrinklings and Light of Carolina Christian Writers Group.