There are still parts of South Africa that do not yet use wheely-bins. Instead they put the rubbish on wooden pedestals (as above) to keep dogs from tearing the bags before the garbage collectors arrive. The most popular design for these looks a little like an over grown version of the mangers used when I was a little girl. Now I’m sure that at this time of year there are many who would eagerly object to my mention of this likeness, but I don’t think it inappropriate at all… & here is why:
The likening of the bed of a holy child, to a rough wooden rubbish shelf.
Well I suspect that our garbage pedestals are far closer to the humble abode of that holy child. Moreover, I believe its purpose adds a level of meaning to the over sanitized nativity scene.
To understand why the comparison is not only appropriate, but even useful, we need to address the following first:
What is the meaning of Christmas, & what is the best Christmas Gift ever?
Christmas should be about celebrating God’s greatest gift to us, His only Son, Jesus, the Christ. (Hence the name Christ-mas… Celebration of Christ)
Its easy to overlook the importance of this gift in our commercialized society, especially since it is taboo to talk about why we need that special gift.
The Bible is quite clear about this though, we are no longer perfect or even inherently good, but are sinful beyond our own ability to change. Even when we do good, our motives bely our broken hearts. We are utterly helpless to save ourselves from our brokenness, and it is only through Christ that we can be fixed & brought inline with God’s standards. Without understanding this, Christmas is reduced to an empty festival of commercial ideals, leading to landfill overload…
So if Christ is the greatest Gift, whats that got to do with rubbish?
Simple. We all have plenty of rubbish, & I don’t just mean the landfill kind. We have rubbish brought on us by our own sinful nature, and by other’s sin.
(eg. I have problems brought on by my own lethargy, and others caused by my parents recent divorce)
All his rubbish tends to get carried around with us, becoming a heavy burden to bare, and can get quite rotten & smelly fermenting in our minds & hearts. Its a bit like if you carried you physical rubbish with you everywhere… And it obviously affects our relationships with others, ourselves & God.
But just like we have rubbish collectors in most places I’ve been to (admittedly not all); in the same way, we have been sent a special rubbish collector… Christ. When He died on the cross, he took on everyone else’s rubbish. That is what He came for! Now if you think about all the rubbish of all people since the world began, how big is yours in comparison? Well He bore all the rubbish & rose again… He triumphed. You may as well let Him bare yours!
Instead of clinging to your rubbish this Christmas, why not place it on the crib?
Psalm 55:22 (ESV)
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Ephesians 2:4-9 (ESV)
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-
6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.