Reading through the Christmas story in Luke,  I was thinking about the inn that had no room for Joseph and Mary.  There have been so many stories written about the innkeeper, his wife, the crowds in Bethlehem due to the royal census, the donkeys and manger in that cave where they found shelter.

Joseph and Mary were relegated to a cave where their son was born into this world.  My wife and I have been to Bethlehem, and to the place where tradition says Jesus was born.  Down tiny steps to what would have been the ground-level in Jesus’ day.  Through a very narrow opening, looking all around, we realized that we were in a rough-hewn cave, very large, dark and dank.  A cave, nevertheless.

Here our Savior was born.  Here?  Yes, here.  Why here?  Could it be because of what God has told us in Romans 8:28?  You remember the verse– ‘All things work together for good to those who love God, to those called according to His purpose.’   Note that the verse does not say that all things ARE good; but that somehow, in ways that I have no earthly idea about, but in God’s heavenly hands, He works everything together for His good purposes.

Please do not quote this verse to someone in the midst of terrible tragedy and loss.  It will  hurt like a knife into their heart.  Stay with them and be comforting.  Let them rest on your shoulders…for they will in time learn to lean upon His.

All things working together…for good.   Back to the Christmas story with the shepherds out in their fields watching their flock by night.  To them the angels first appear with the good news of the baby’s birth in the manger over in Bethlehem.  To shepherds– grimy and grungy, shabby and smelly.  To them came the heavenly announcement!

Verse 16 says that ‘they hurried off and found (the baby Jesus)…lying in a manger…just as it had been told them(v. 20).  How in the world did the shepherds ever find that one little baby?  How?  I can only imagine that there were very few newborns lying in manger-cave in Bethlehem.  They found Him because God used the inconvenience of ‘no room in the inn’ so that the shepherds could find Him without difficulty.   Sounds like ‘all things work together for good…’

How about in your life and mine?  No rose garden, I know.  But I’m sure trusting in the Lord, through thick-and-thin.  He’ll make those troubles and unanswered questions good compost for the best garden anyone has ever seen.  Out of this world!   Heavenly, really…

Prayer:  Our Lord, help us to hold your hand when times get tough and answers become rare.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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