I’m home. I’m gathered in this stable with you and Mary and Joseph. It’s cold and smelly and I’m standing in cow manure and half wondering whether I didn’t sit in some of it a while ago. And yet I feel so very quietly happy.
It seems like I usually feel like I’m not ready for you. At another time, I might have made you all wait outside before you came in, until I could sweep out the stable, get clean hay, scrape off the bottom of my shoes, and get some warm clothes for us all.
And I would want myself to be a better person. That’s really what I see in the darkness of this stable, the darkness of my heart. I’m not just fretting about the surroundings, Jesus — it’s me. Am I good enough to be in this place with you? It’s only now as I look at you and your parents that I feel so deeply the love in this drafty, dark stable. Your tiny hands are still clutched in a newborn’s fists, and when I hold out my finger, you grasp it tightly. My Lord and Savior is holding my hand! I am flooded with joy and tears that, at this moment, we are together in the kind of intimacy that has bonded humans since the beginning of time.
Dearest child Jesus, help me to peer beyond the dim light of this stable into the darkness of my own heart. Let me feel even more deeply that I really am at home here, in this place where my greatest accomplishment is holding my finger out for you to grasp. Help me to understand that you didn’t come to be with me in any kind of unrealistic perfection but with me as I am right now, ankle deep in manure, tears streaking down my dusty face, and me joyfully smiling at your dozing parents as well as a cow and two oxen!
None of this seems to fit my well ordered life, and yet here I am in this imperfect situation in what seems to be perfect happiness. My heart fills with so much gratitude to you, and I look down on your face with a deep love. Thank you for all you mean in my life. Thank you for coming to me, to all of us, as we are in our own stables, standing in the darkness, wondering what comes next.