Wednesday Word: Christ in the Stable
We are always the 'stable' into which the Christ is born anew. – Richard Rohr, quoted by Prior Aelred in the Abbey Letter of St. Gregory's Abbey, number 288, Christmas 2021
The Episcopal monks of St. Gregory's Abbey, located in Three Rivers, MI, send out a little newsletter about once a quarter giving updates on what they're doing, what they've read, and some meditations here and there. In his meditation on Christmas, compassion, and love, Prior Aelred mentioned the above sentence from Richard Rohr.
Jesus Christ the Son of God was born of a woman in a stable (or barn, or cave, or outbuilding) because there was no room for the family in the main house (inn). The eternal, omnipotent God, creator of all that is, seen and unseen, humbled himself to become incarnate of the virgin Mary and made man. This person Jesus, whom we refer to as King of kings and Lord of lords, was born not in a castle, not in a place of power, nor in the city of prophets and kings, but in a small town, in a back room where animals were kept, and laid in a feeding trough.
There are people who have prayed, and will pray, that Jesus come into their lives. As Episcopalians we invite Christ into our lives every Sunday by our participation in the liturgy of Holy Eucharist and with our consuming of the bread and wine become his Body and Blood. I would imagine there are many ways that Christ is invited to dwell within us, and in each way we are the stable into which Christ is born anew.
In one sense this is a good thing – we are constantly asking Christ into our lives, we are constantly working to be more Christ-like. As our baptismal covenant says in part, we strive to continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers.
But the above sentence also got me thinking . . . Jesus Christ was born in a back room or outbuilding or cave or stable because the inn, the main building, had no room. Is the Christ born in us anew in our stable because we have no room in our main building? Do we relegate Jesus Christ to the backrooms or outbuildings of our lives because we are too full of other things?
“Away in a manger” is a lovely Christmas hymn, but how would our lives look if we made space for the Christ to be born anew in our primary life building rather than relegating him to our personal stables?