I was always an angel. Always. I never seemed to get an interesting part in the St.-Thomas-a-Becket church pageant. Not that I cared too much. The angels were pretty. I liked pretty.
In my small 8-year-old mind I was always fixated on the part of the pageant story that seemed so unfair to me: “there was no room for them in the inn.” Couldn’t someone have given up their room? I thought. Surely, something could have been done – I mean, Mary was having a baby. She had just traveled many miles on the back of a donkey – nine months pregnant. It was all just so wrong!
I understand now what I didn’t then. That’s not the part that is unfair.
It’s not unfair that they had no room…I mean, they didn’t make a reservation. It’s not unfair that they had to birth a baby in a messy, dirty barn and place him in a feeding trough with the animal smell fresh and pungent. It’s not unfair that He had nothing to wear but some dirty strips of cloth to repel the chill of His first earthly night. It’s not unfair that they had to race off in the opposite direction of home to avoid being killed by Herod’s soldiers, or that it would be years before they saw their home again. It’s not unfair that He was despised and rejected. It’s not unfair that He was willingly nailed to a cross to comply with His Father’s will.
What is truly unfair is that I might benefit from His actions. A wretched, vile, over-eager and proficient sinner like me. I was not searching for salvation. I was not seeking forgiveness of sins. I didn’t even acknowledge that I was a sinner. I longed only for happiness and wordly wealth and fame and glory and…and…and…A very content traveler on that wide, well-populated road to hell.
He did all that – a humble birth, a perfect life, a cruel God-forsaken death – and I gain. Now that is unfair.
And awesome. Truly awesome.
May the Light of Christ and His amazing work fall on you this blessed season. May you be the beneficiary of what is truly unfair.