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Staging the Stable

by Joanna Pierce on December 21, 2016

When I was in preschool, I procured a laminated construction paper nativity. It was complete with 25 pieces—animals, shepherds, wise men, Mary, Joseph, the manger, etc. Each item was to be added every day of December up to, and including, Christmas day, with Jesus Christ being the final piece.

Each day I would gingerly place each figure onto the laminated surface with putty, rearranging the characters to account for depth. My sisters would plaster their pieces in every possible space on their own laminated nativities. Even as a child, I would explain to my siblings it was impossible for shepherds to float in the air, but my reasoning fell on deaf ears.

As I gazed at the construction paper figures, my mind would think about the preparations that took place in the stable that day—awaiting the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Did some of the figures who were present for Christ’s birth rearrange themselves to make way for Jesus just as my small fingers did in my own nativity?

As I grew older, I understood Mary and Joseph searched for a place to stay prior to Christ’s birth. Mary was “great with child” and they both knew she would deliver soon (Luke 2:5–6). Mary and Joseph didn’t have much of a choice, but they occupied a stable.

As a parent does everything in their power to provide the best care for their children, I am persuaded that even with their limited means, Mary and Joseph did their best to prepare—or stage—the stable as well as they could before the birth of Christ. They knew who was about to enter the world—the Savior to the entire world (Matthew 1:21)—and they wanted to be ready.

Much effort was made before Jesus came on the scene in Bethlehem. There was a desire by many to come to see the King of kings and Lord of lords. Wise men from the East even prepared gifts to bring to meet the child prior to His birth (Matthew 2:11). Every heart knew something needed to be staged (readied) before Jesus arrived.

Whether we are aware or not, we all have a spiritual stable the Lord is looking to abide in. He desires to fill us with His presence, but He can’t come in until we get ready. Can we ask ourselves today how much effort do we extend to stage our own stables before Jesus enters our lives? Do we take Him for granted, or do we make preparations? What efforts do we make to invite in His presence?

Scripture tells us God wants us to have a broken heart and contrite spirit (Psalms 34:18). We need to clean house (Matthew 9:16–17) and empty ourselves so His Spirit can come in (Acts 2:38). We don’t do this once a year around Christmas, but we do it every day we desire to commune with Jesus. It should be done every day!

Let’s get ready to usher in the presence of Emmanuel—the One whose government shall be upon His shoulder. His name is called: Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). It’s time to stage the stable.