But while I was listening, I was suddenly struck with a realisation. I knew that God sent his son to be born in a stable to fullfill prophecy, and I understood that he did it without any human pomp and splendour to seperate himself from earthly glory. But I don't think I ever really grasped another important reason why Jesus was born in a stable with farm animals.
The presenter was elaborating on how awful the stable would have been, with animal excrement everywhere, and he really hammered home just how much of an unpleasant, filthy, horrible place it was. I guess I have become desensitised to the whole thing, having heard it for years. Plus, It's also easy to develop a nicer idea of a manger in your head, especially when you imagine it like it's done in a nativity story, with tiny children dressed as sheep and other animals.
But, when I started to ask God 'why was it a stable, one of the most unpleasant places in the world (in a physical sense)?' all of a sudden I understood the symbolism behind it. He had to have Jesus, the most pure being ever on the earth, introduced to the world in a filth-encrusted place. Because that's how it is. This world is shockingly depraved and filled with the vilest evil. But Jesus, the purest saviour came to us in all our filth, to rescue us.
I was struck anew with gratitude and love for my God and my saviour. And I really needed that. Christmas seems to get busier every year, but I must never, never get so busy that I don't pay attention to my God and saviour, and the reason I can celebrate and live.