“But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Matthew 19:30
The moon was so bright during December. When it reached fullness before Christmas it rose dramatically in the east and hung round and silver throughout the night. All during the season I couldn’t help thinking it was the same moon – the same moon! – that lighted Bethlehem the night Jesus was born. I don’t know what phase it was in then – maybe no one does. I’ve never read anything about it. But I don’t have to know astronomy to imagine the shepherds noticing the moon and stars as they called softly and perhaps sang to the sheep under their care. People who spend their lives outside notice the sky – it’s an important part of each day. Maybe their watchfulness had something to do with the Lord sending angels to announce His Big Gift. Anything we might speculate about the kind of men these were would be just that – pure conjecture. But weren’t they blessed while they went about another uneventful evening in their humble, simple lives as caretakers?
Contrast them with the innkeepers, about whom we know nothing except that business was good. Lots of paying customers thanks to Caesar Augustus. I had a career that frequently put me on the road and in hotels over the years. I know how it goes, especially when the house is packed with people who don’t get out much. Most likely the atmosphere at the inn was raucous and upbeat. Everyone was having a good time, making the most of it. No doubt there was plenty of talk about politics and the economy and all the important current events.
Imagine worn out Mary and Joseph showing up at the door. Sorry, no vacancy. She was starting labor for crying out loud. They’d just walked a hundred miles. Forget the innkeepers. How is it that not one person staying there that night stepped up to offer their room to an exhausted girl about to bear her first child? Everyone must have been pretty wrapped up in their own business. At least the innkeepers offered the stable, if not their own quarters. No doubt they would have made haste to roll out the red carpet if they’d known Who arrived on their doorstep.
But the Lord doesn’t show up that way, does He? He didn’t then and He doesn’t now.
It doesn’t matter how famous or infamous we are. It doesn’t matter who we think we are. It doesn’t matter how lofty we esteem our calling and gifts. It doesn’t matter how critical we believe our endeavors are to the advancement of God’s Kingdom. No really, it doesn’t. We all must learn to make room in our busy lives for the humblest among us who present themselves at the least convenient times. If we refuse, we may be surprised to find our lives are found wanting when weighed in the balance.
I finish this year feeling there is some timeless wisdom in Sam Cooke’s great song Wonderful World.
Don’t know much about history.
Don’t know much biology.
Don’t know much about a science book.
Don’t know much about the French I took.
But I do know that I love you,
And I know that if you love me too,
What a wonderful world this would be.
Happy, happy Christmas. All year long.
© Melissa Kay Simonds