TITLE: Midst of the Mess
DATE: December 25, 2019
Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed.
TEXT: 2 Corinthians 13:11 - ESV - Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Some people might be surprised that the shepherds didn't ask further directions from the angel.
There may have many babies in the crowded city. How could the shepherds know which one was the right one? They should have needed further directions to mark the Christ child.
But obviously, further directions were unnecessary.
After all, how many children would be put in a manger? Nobody in their wildest imagination would look for a baby in an animal manger. Animals and human beings might live in the same house in rural Palestine, but there were limits. One of those limits was that the manger was the private possession of the animals. And it was there that the shepherds came.
One of my finest memories from life in the farming community is that of an elderly lady of eighty, and her sister, who lived on the family homestead at the edge of town.
The farm had seen better days. The ladies, as well. They were surrounded by chickens and pigs running between the house and the fence with their one, lone cow complicating their lives. She and her sister were all that was left of the family and they were independently trying to keep things going without the help of anyone else. But they were always falling over chickens and bruising themselves badly.
It was after one of those spills, right around Christmas time, that I was asked to call on her.
During the course of the visit, I commented that it was a shame she wouldn't make it to church this Christmas. The black and blue sister, with a smile, waved her hands at the cluttered room in which we were sitting and looked out at the broken and unpainted fence and said, "Pastor, don't worry, our Lord comes to us, even in the midst of our mess."
Those words have stuck with me over the years. The Lord comes to us in the midst of our mess.
That's how He's coming to the Klaus Haus. He's coming in the midst of the mess. It was only a week ago that we were decorating the house and it was found that someone, whose name shall remain unmentioned, had not packed away the nativity figures in a proper way. The result was one shepherd was beheaded and a Wiseman had been separated from his camel. This simply would not do. The house had to look its best for Christmas. I understand Pam's concern. But it occurred to me, as I was holding the shepherd's head and body, waiting for the glue to set, that Jesus still comes in the midst of the mess.
We shouldn't be surprised. God promised it would be that way when He told it to Mary who said, “He has put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he sends away empty." Every passage tells us that Jesus will come in the midst of the mess
Jesus comes in the midst of the mess of sin and washes it away with His blood. Jesus comes to a world at war, and in His Name brings peace. Jesus comes to the mess of prejudice and hatred and brings understanding. Jesus comes to the mess of hurt and pain and brings comfort and solace. Jesus comes to the mess of drunkenness and brings sobriety. Jesus comes to the mess of drugs and cleans confused and clouded minds and hearts. Jesus comes to the mess of the sick and the dying and brings release. Jesus comes in the midst of our mess.
And He comes to the midst of our mess and makes it right.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I lift my eyes up from my mess and see You Who have been born to save us from the messes of sin. In Your Name I give thanks. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html