Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Knee Deep in Manure

The blaze of the fire warmed the room. Rich green garland dressed the mantle as ornate stockings hung expectantly. In the corner stood a magnificent pine tree adorned with twinkle lights and shiny red ornaments.

These were the signs of Christmas.

Yet somehow this familiar scene brought restlessness to my soul. I dared to ask the unthinkable.

Is this really Christmas?

Is my soul satisfied from the aroma of pine swirling in the air, the flickering of lights, or the brightly wrapped packages under the tree? I wrestled to find Christmas in candy canes precariously hanging from branches and Santa Claus staring at me from the fireplace.

Is this Christmas?

Climbing into my car, my heart raced with desperate need to seek contentment for my soul. Where can I find Christmas? For miles I drove—my heart searching the sights around me. Passing streets adorned with wreaths, Santa’s ringing bells, and tree lots.

Is this Christmas?

My heart grew expectant as my search led me to a local farm. My soul anticipated discovery as I quietly walked the dirt path through stalls of animals.

And then I saw her.

I. Couldn’t. Stop. Staring.

All four legs of this dairy cow were standing in none other than wet, soggy manure—the stench intolerable. Devouring every last bit of hay from the dirty steel trough, she paused to lift her contented face towards me. Her gaze told me she knew what I was seeking.

And it was in those moments I not only found myself—I found Christmas.

I also stand in the muck and mire of my brokenness.

Yet if I lean in, like she does, I can hear the Christ Child call to me. The God who rose from His throne, left heaven, and stepped into our world—naked and vulnerable. It is this God I hear wooing me to draw near and feast on His goodness and grace from His humble trough-like crib.

And when I do—I find what I was looking for.

This, my friend, is Christmas. 
Will you lean into the Christ Child today?

Here or real. Share your journey.

Sounds for the Soul
The Gift by David Nevue

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2 NIV 1984

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:10-12


  1. Christmas hasn't felt like "Christmas" to me in a long time. It feels like so much more. He is more!

  2. Sheer brilliance. Thank you for this beautiful picture of the true meaning of Christmas! This is publishable!

    You totally put into words how I feel this year as the 7 boxes of Christmas decorations lay unopened this year. Our tree holds just a handful of ornaments yet 700 twinkling lights because the lights seem right. The presents are sparse because buying them makes me cringe as I am forced to join the chaos and frenzy of people in malls. But what does feel right is sitting with my family, and buying a cow, or a goat or some chickens for a village in a far away land. Filling up their stable, their smelly stable, is RIGHT....because again, in a stable there was brought life and that more abundant.

  4. Wow! You always speak to the heart of the matter with such honesty and grace! I was on a similar journey this year. Discouraged and disheartened by what I was seeing and experiencing, I downloaded Faith Hill's song, "Where Are You Christmas?" and set out to find it (Him) myself. I found Him in a living nativity as Isaiah began to prophesy! He is Christmas!

  5. LOVE this! Yes--this IS Christmas! Beautifully written--standing right there in the manure with you.

  6. YES! My heart jumped out upon reading this. Share it with everyone...facebook, email, etc. This must be shared. The Holy Spirit carries God's words into our hearts!