He will make it beautiful

I was frantic!  The maroon wise man robe had gotten soaked when my church had performed a live nativity in the park and it had been thrown in a bag with several white costumes.  Now all of the white costumes had red streaks every where they had touched the robe.  In addition, due to the weather the bottoms of every costume was caked in clay mud.  I wasn't sure I could get them all cleaned before our next performance and there definitely wasn't time to remake any of the white costumes if I couldn't.

I offered up a prayer as I sorted everything and began washing.  Fortunately, due to some a wonderful laundry additive, all of the white costumes returned to their pristine state.  Unfortunately, the clay stains did not come out of all of the remaining costumes.  I was so heart broken that the nights presentation would have to include stained tunics and robes.  I just knew it would detract from the presentation.  But then I felt God begin to whisper...

Did you do your best?
Yes, but they are still stained!
Do you trust me?
Yes, but-
then let me take it from here...
So I packed them up and took them to the nativity.  It was again a rainy, muddy night.  Every costume ended up caked in clay mud again.  But, no one noticed.  And once the first presentation began, neither did I.  It wasn't about how pretty things looked.  God's message is for those of us who are dirty, imperfect, stained.

He came to be born not in the house of a wealthy man, but in a stable, among the animals.  He lived his life with those who got their hands dirty.  His ministry served the untouchable (Matthew 8:2-3), the disliked (Mark 2:15), the outcasts (Mark 5:1-20, John 8:1-11, John 4:5-32).  It wasn't a clean life, but it was beautiful.  Not because of how it looked, but because of what it was - love.

And that is what He asks from us in return.  No extravagant, expensive, perfect gifts.  He simply desires that we love Him, and that we share His love with others.  (Mark 12:30-31) He isn't asking for perfection from you, He only asks that you serve Him in love, which means your best effort all the time. (Colossians 3:23)  If you do, He will make it beautiful.  He will use it to accomplish His perfect will.

As for the Nativity, despite the pouring rain, many showed up to hear the story - and no one noticed a single stain.
Photo courtesy of One Eyed Jack's Photography

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