“Where does Jesus live,” my little one asked. My thoughts were stirred by this earnest question. “What is His address,” is the question that followed. My little one was attempting to memorize our home address. As parents, we have all rehearsed these coordinates with our young ones. Having them memorize their home address and phone number brought us some peace of mind perchance they ever became lost, which is surely a possibility. “Jesus home is in heaven,” I responded. My child was satisfied with this answer. Yet this question sparked my imagination regarding Jesus first address?
In the gospel of Luke, shepherds living out in the fields nearby Bethlehem were given the location of Jesus address by an Angel of the Lord. “Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ (Messiah) the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:11-12) After this message is given, Luke tells us of a “great company of the heavenly host” having appeared to the shepherds praising God; “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” “Let’s go,” the shepherds responded hurriedly to one another and surely they found “Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger” just as they were told. (Luke 8:15-16)
The address of this stable scene is the setting of many cherished childhood Christmas plays and holiday memories, yet not so when we stop to think of the reality of the space, the sounds of lowing animals and the smells. Is this address fit for the Christ, the Messiah of Israel and the world? The words of poet G.K. Chesterton capture the image of this earthly dwelling, this open house to a young mother and father, to shepherd and beast.
A child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I home:
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost - long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.
To and open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.
These are touching thoughts of the Son of Man, the babe Christ, who had no place but to lay his head in a feeding trough. Homeless we may be with broken heart and home, yet He laid aside his heavenly realm to take us to His home.
Further Reading: John 1:14, John 14:23, Luke 23: 39-43