The idea of a farm stay holiday has long appealed to me – that is until the day I visited a farm myself. As an urbanite unaccustomed to farm life, I found myself overwhelmed by the dirt, grime, and smells all around me. The images I had of myself nibbling crumpets and sipping tea surrounded by quaint farmhouses and stables were quickly lost when I was confronted by the smell of the stable before me – it smelled just like a stable. And as I stood there taking in these new sights and smells, I came to a disappointing realization that some things were far nicer when viewed and appreciated from a distance.
As Christmas approaches, my mind is brought back to another farm scene. The Gospel of Luke records that Jesus was born in a manger, probably amongst animals. His first visitors were shepherds, out in the field keeping watch over their flock, suggesting to me that this was a farm located out in the countryside. This is a remarkable thought – that our King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Son of God himself, would leave His Father and heavenly throne to be born in the humblest of circumstances.
Our omnipotent and omniscient God could have designed so many other ways to save us. It is hard to fathom why He would choose the most difficult way. Couldn’t God have dealt with the problem of sin from a distance? Was there a need to break the eternal union between Father and Son, to leave the glory of heaven, to take the hardest path?
Yet, He chose not to do so from a distance. Christ chose to come to this earth to live amongst us, to touch the lives of man, including the weakest, the despised and the destitute. And His entire earthly ministry began with His humble birth in a farm – one that was probably filled with dirt and grime and unpleasant smells – foreshadowing the type of earthly ministry He chose to undertake in his 33 years on earth. What an amazing truth we can cling on to; what a wondrous Saviour we worship!
Our increasingly uncertain world is filled with pain, suffering and strife. In the midst of this, I am comforted by the knowledge that the God I worship is One who not only sees our everyday struggles from heaven, but One who came to us to endure infinitely more than any other human being, and overcame the world. He is not One who loves from afar, but One who walks with us, carries our burdens, and gives us strength to overcome.
– by brother Shem Khoo