- Jesus finds every lost sheep (5/28/23)
- Hockey Jesus: Taking our penalty (5/21/23)
- The Rest of the Story: Easter came from Eostre (4/16/23)
- Fasting, prayer are not blackmail (2/26/23)
- Giving up for Lent, or just giving up entirely? (2/19/23)
- Repeat, repeat and repeat again (2/5/23)
- Thoughts on how to grow in the new year (1/8/23)
Donít forget what it cost Jesus to come to earth
As many of you probably may know from my writing, my wife and I are an avid trout fishing couple.
This is the best time of the year to be on the Eleven Point or Spring River, casting a fly or tight line fishing as my wife does. The trout love the cold temperature of the water.
Being so, I came across a story about a fisherman and his daily catch. It could have happened on the Sea of Galilee, but the setting is not important.
During the season of Advent, as we await the birth of Jesus, God’s gift of love to us, I want to share with you a familiar story or fable, that has been slightly rewritten for this season. I believe the original title is called, “The Fisherman and His Wife” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
Once upon a time, there lived a fisherman and his wife. Their home was a humble two-room cottage with a tiny garden and a well.
Every day the fisherman would go out in his little boat and in the evening bring home his catch, sometimes good, sometimes poor. This was their livelihood.
But the fisherman’s wife was discontented.
“Why should I have to live in this hovel? Is it too much to expect a decent home with water and electricity and a kitchen? I wish I was a lady.”
Her continual grousing made the fisherman quite miserable.
One day, something happened which changed their lives. The man caught a strange and beautiful fish which startled him by speaking.
“Please throw (me) back into the sea and I’ll grant whatever you wish.”
The fisherman thought a bit and then replied, “So be it. I wish my wife was a lady and lived in a proper house with water, electricity and a kitchen.”
When he returned that evening he found that his wish had been granted, and his wife was very pleased.
But as the months passed, she began to grumble again.
“Is it too much to expect something better than this pokey house? I wish I was a duchess, with a mansion and servants and a carriage. Why did you ask for so little? I’m sure the fish meant us to do better than this.”
Driven by her complaints, the fisherman tried to contact the fish again and rowed his boat to the spot.
So he called out, “Fish, fish in the sea, Come, I pray thee, here to me. For my wife, wills not as I’d have her will.”
No sooner had he called than the fish appeared and agreed to his request.
But the duchess was still not satisfied. Within a month, she was grumbling and complaining again.
“I wish I was a queen, go and see your fish again.”
And so he did. Life in the palace was luxurious, but the fisherman’s wife, now a queen, wasn’t content for long.
“What I would really like,” she said, “would be to be God. I’m sure your fish will understand that this is what I wanted all along.”
When the man returned from his last visit to his fishy friend, he found no palace on the shore, no mansion, not a house. Not even his little old cottage was there. But then he heard crying, and noticing a cave in the cliff face, he went closer. Inside it was fashioned into a rough stable. There were two oxen and a donkey. And in the manger a little baby lay crying.” The fisherman’s wife had her wish.
The wife in our retelling of the story had, of course, forgotten what God is like in this world, in human flesh.
“And this is what will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12
She’d forgotten about Christmas and Easter.
She’d forgotten about the manger and the cross.
She’d forgotten that our God is a God who comes and who identifies with his people, and especially with the poorest and the most humble of people
It is so easy to forget what it cost Jesus to come to earth as one of us. As we prepare for the birth of Jesus, may we not allow the cacophony of the world around us and its trappings cause us to forget that in a humble cave or stable, born to Joseph and Mary was Jesus, “Emmanuel, God with us.”
“Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Behold, a young woman shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’” which translated means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:22-23.
Rev. Frank Chlastak began work as senior minister of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Poplar Bluff in 2015. He is a graduate of Northeast Louisiana University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and has served congregations of the Christian Church in Louisiana, Arkansas, Virginia, Oklahoma and Missouri.
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