Christmas Countdown Day 14 focused on the stable. Though Scripture doesn’t use the word “stable” to describe Jesus’ birthplace, it does say Jesus was placed in a manger after he was born, and there was no room for this young family at the local inn. Usually a manger would be found in a stable or barn. Today, we used our senses to explore the stable where Jesus was born. We imagined what we may have seen there, the sounds we would have heard, and what we might have smelled. While we read our Scripture passage in Luke chapter 2, the kids placed the figures in our small nativity and in doing so, placed themselves there too, experiencing what that night could have been like. We made stable ornaments, to help us remember where Jesus was born, and how God provided for them there in the stable.
Three days, they didn’t know where their son was.
They searched everywhere, frantic with worry. They retraced their steps, and went over them again.
Finally, they entered the temple, perhaps as a last resort, hoping someone could help them. And there he was, a crowd around him, amazing the religious leaders with his answers to deep spiritual issues.
It had been three days.
Mary, like any mother, ran to him, and probably hugged his neck with all her strength in utter relief they had found him. In the same moment, she poured out all her anxiety and fear and anger demanding answers why he had left them. She and Joseph had searched for their beloved son for THREE DAYS! Can you hear the tone in her voice as the panic began to ebb?
This is the first mention of “three days” in the Gospel of Luke, and it won’t be the last. In fact, Jesus’ life, and our lives, hinges on three days.
When victory was won over sin, death and hell, Jesus rose from the grave after three days. Just as Jesus spent three days apart from his parents, schooling the religious leaders and opening up His Word to them, Jesus lay dead for three days so that His resurrection would answer our eternity. Jesus went away for three days so that we could be found.
There will be times in our lives when, because of circumstances out of our control or of our own choosing, we feel like we cannot find Jesus. We panic, we search, we cry out hoping He will hear. We retrace our steps, and beg others for help. Our tears and our shortcomings blind us. Our faith grows dim, and our hope ragged.
When doubt begins to topple conviction, cling to His promises. Mary knew what the angel had said to her about her son, what had been prophesied about the Messiah, yet she still despaired. God has promised, as His children, He will never leave us or forsake us. Three days can seem like an eternity. But, all is not lost, because God is not lost.
He is there, strengthening our hearts and teaching us from His Word. He is there, defeating our enemies, tearing down strongholds and securing our salvation.
In those times of despair, go to where God is. Go to His temple, His church, where He has set up residence in your heart. Go to His Word. Go to Him in prayer.