Monday, December 8, 2014

Peace and Unquiet

I spent a lot of time in a barn this weekend, and it got me thinking about Bethlehem and the manger scene. Fitting, since yesterday's peace candle also represents this ancient place. 

Bethlehem, where expectations of a bed at the end of a long journey, a wash and a hot meal, some respite from all that walking, were met with closed doors, and finally, an invitation to a barn.

Barns aren't quiet. They're full of animal noises, and the call of a farm hand or farmer now and then.

head-butt turned cuddle
They aren't clean. Animals eat, sleep, give birth, and, well, poop, in there. 

Peaceful and quiet? Try busy and noisy.

Barns are not exactly a place one goes to get away from it all.

And yet a barn is exactly the place that was chosen for the birth of the Prince of Peace.

Why there? Why not in a tranquil meadow, perhaps beside a spring, outside of Bethlehem? Or in a quiet, dark forest, in a grove of beautiful trees?

My life is not a grove of beautiful trees. Oh, I have my zen moments, but I don't spend my days wandering around meadows a la Maria Von Trapp. My life, like everyone else's, is busy and noisy. Lots going on - eating, sleeping, living, births, deaths, highs, lows, and yes, even poop. 

not quite this noisy! (source)
I love seeing manger scenes set up through the city - from tiny ones in store windows, to antiques in church yards, and life-size models in squares. They're mixed right into the hustle and bustle of the season.

My life is much more like the barn scene. The thing is, we don't need to be perfectly balanced and still to find peace. Because of this birth in a noisy barn, we can be at peace no matter where we are. A barn isn't peaceful, but you can find peace in there.  

Oh come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.

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