“For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior,

who is Christ the Lord”

LUKE 2:11

Through the universe, boundless as the imagination and bounded only by our vision, from the farthest expansion, an image, un-measured by time, which has no beginning and no end, traveled at the speed of thought, untethered by natural law, stirring with the authority of the creator, therefore upon release it existed. The image fixed within the shelter of the un-violated womb of humanity, a virgin who would give birth to Grace for mankind, a perfect lamb for our sacrifice, the Son Of God, the mirror image of man and his Creator.

In a town far away, or just around the corner, or perhaps where you are this moment, stands a stable where man’s beasts of burden are kept. The stable not found at the center of town where society pays the grandeur of its masquerade, but on the perimeter where all pass at the beginning and finish of their journey. Here is found the heart of this story. A happening of many memories ago, or was it just yesterday, or perhaps it goes on at this moment. A happening not with loud music or great exclamation but in the mystery where truth is often kept. So begins our story in a place without origin at a time without point, yet it exists in the reality of the reader and for those who hear and comprehend this tale.

Our tale unfolds in a town, the birthplace of a long ago earthly King, during a busy time when an order had been issued for the people to gather and give an accounting of themselves. It was pressed upon them to return to the place of their root and be recognized by the governor of their birthplace. Many as they gathered afforded themselves the festivities of reunion. They excused themselves from the worries of life and gave less for the concerns of the less fortunate. On the skirts of town, at the stable, it was not a time of gala activity but that of extra duty for Joel the stable keeper.

Joel a young lad of thirteen was mature for his short years. He had a sense of his place and the significance of the events unfolding around him. He worked hard at his task in the stable in hopes of impressing the master and increasing his reward. Joel kept the stalls of the stable clean, the animals’ well fed and groomed. Joel was busy, as there were many animals at this time, when his master Matthew called. Joel quickly ran out to answer the call and found Matthew bartering with a farmer for new hay to use as feed. When the deal was struck, Matthew instructed Joel to take the new hay into the stable.

Joel carried the hay into the stable and stored it in the loft above the stalls. He had made room for the new hay by filling the mangers in each of the stalls with old hay. Yet there was one stall and manger in the center left empty, by Joel’s purpose, in which he placed new hay. Throughout the day more animals arrived and Joel placed them into the stalls and soon began to double them leaving the one with new hay empty. Matthew would see this and ask Joel why he left the one stall empty and many a traveler would ask why their animals were not placed in the empty stall. To each Joel would reply, “I am saving this stall for the King. When he comes he shall be given our best.” Matthew would reply that no King would come to this stable to harbor his animals and travelers would reply no King would come to this town. Yet in spite of Matthew’s impatience and the scorn of many travelers, Joel kept the center stall with new hay in the manger ready for the King’s service.

In the late evening when the activities of the day ceased, Joel checked each stall comforting each animal passing the one that still remained empty. Joel then prepared his bed, offered is evening prayer and laid down to rest. Shortly Matthew appeared at the door calling for him. Joel quickly arose and answered the call of his master. Matthew entered the stable with a couple, a man and his wife who was riding upon a donkey.

“See to these people that they have a place to rest. They will require comfort here as there is no room in the inn. Give them a corner and their donkey feed.” Matthew commanded.

“Yes master. As you wish sir.” Joel answered while taking the rope that rested around the donkey’s neck.

As the woman dismounted the donkey Joel saw she was ready to give birth. The man helped her down and led her to a corner of the stable. He unpacked a blanket and laid it down for her. Joel led the donkey to a stall and squeezed it in with two others. Joel then fetched fresh water and took it over to the couple.

“What are your names?” Joel asked.

“I am called Joseph and this is my wife Mary. We have traveled here for the accounting. It has come at a bad time for us, as my wife is about to give birth. Our travel is slow and we have come late. This is the only place for us to find rest. Why is it you have placed our donkey in a crowed stall?”

“I have been saving this stall for a King.” Joel then looked over to Joseph’s wife, Mary. She sat quietly in obvious discomfort upon the hard ground with only the cushion of a thin blanket. Joel felt a stir within his spirit and looked back towards Joseph. “Please take you wife Mary and move into the empty stall. It will be more privet there and the hay is new, clean and smells sweet. You can place your blanket across the entrance.” Joel then bent down and started to help them move their belongings.

With Joseph and Mary settled in the center stall, Joel returned to his bed and soon fell asleep. Not long after Joel was awakened to the sound of a crying child. He arose quickly to see if his help was required. Upon entering the stall he saw the child, a boy, wrapped in cloth resting in the manger. After a few chores, which Joseph commanded, Joel returned to his bed. Soon a knock came upon the stable door. Joel again arose to answer the knock.

Joel opened the door and before him stood three Kings dressed in the finest of clothes. The three asked to come in, which Joel permitted as he worried that he had given away the stall which he had saved for them.

“Your majesties, I beg thee your forgiveness. I have given my best stall to a wondering couple. They have just given birth to a child. I could clear out another stall if you wish.”

“That is not our request. For this new-born child in the manger is the purpose of our quest. We have traveled from afar in search of this child that we may bow down and worship him. It is he that is the King you have saved the stall for, not us. We are not worthy even of His presence. To us it has been foretold that this child is the King of Kings. A King which has the power to save the world.” The three then entered the stall where the child laid in the manger.

Maybe now you say this story does have an origin, Bethlehem, and you may say this story has a specific time, the birth of Jesus. I would reply your correctness in not complete. You would then say explain yourself and so I shall.

This is a story of the heart. A timeless moment that began before beginning and has yet to fill the age. In the Heart, at the center, is the place the king shall visit one day. He was there at the beginning and belongs there now, but will surely visit there in the end. We don’t know when the King shall call and we don’t know what form He will abide. We do know He is the son of Love, He is Love. We must at all times keep His place at the center of our heart prepared for Him. He may arrive with his legions in the sky shaking the earth as all rightfully fall before him in fear. He may be the one who comes in a moment of need, or be the one who comes in need. It matters not, the question before you is this. Is the center of your heart, the rightful throne of Jesus, bought and paid for by His sacrifice, a fitful place for Him? The answer is where the story begins, it is also where life begins and where life could end. Joel knew his place and the significance of his moment in time. Amid the pressures of the world around him he kept a place prepared for the King. Joel kept his faith that the King would come and in his heart recognized his need and answered His call in the King’s Stable.

 Copyright: 2001 Thomas N Kirkpatrick

Durant Bible College


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