On a recent trip to California to attend a senior adult ministry conference, I had a chance to read Brennan Manning's (author of The Ragamuffin Gospel) book The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus. The final chapter is entitled "The Shipwrecked at the Stable" and contains this paragraph.
"The Bethlehem mystery will ever be a scandal to aspiring disciples who seek a triumphant Savior and a prosperity Gospel. The infant Jesus was born in unimpressive circumstances; no one can say exactly where. His parents were of no social significance whatsoever, and His chosen welcoming committee were all turkeys, losers and dirt-poor shepherds. But in this weakness and poverty the shipwrecked at the stable would come to know the love of God."
I love the expression Manning uses to describe those who gathered to witness and celebrate Jesus' birth--the shipwrecked at the stable. For many whose ships have been dashed upon the rocks and shoals of stormy seas, the promised Messiah waits to bring hope, wholeness, and healing. Love's greatest gift, heaven's stooping to earth to bless us with the birth of God's Son, is a priceless possession offered freely to all who by grace will accept His salvation.