I had just finished dinner. Dishes were still on the table. I was thinking about how I would spend a quiet evening. Then my doorbell rang.
“Maybe I just won’t answer it,” I thought. “Whoever it is will never know I’m home. I need some time alone,” I reasoned.
The doorbell rang again or rather blasted. “Are you going to do what I want or you want?” I heard God ask in my heart. I answered out loud, “God, I want to do what you want, but I need some time alone tonight. I’ve done enough ministry today. Besides, I can’t even think in Russian right now.”
“I want you to answer the door,” God responded.
Hesitantly, I opened the door. It was Anya, a ten-year-old girl who lives in my apartment building. “Priviet, Jane.” (Hi, Jane). “Priviet, Anya. Come in,” I responded as cheerfully as I could. She walked into the kitchen and sat on one of the white stools surrounding the table. “Jane, will you help me with my English homework?” she shyly asked. “Sure, what do you need?”
The homework only took about 5 minutes. “Spasiba (thanks),” Anya almost shouted as she jumped up. “Spasiba. Good-bye,” she said with a big smile as she headed out the door. And then she was gone. It was only 5 minutes.
After she left, I thought about the first Christmas. Mary and Joseph had spent many days traveling to Bethlehem. They were tired. And here they were in a stable with animals. Mary labored and finally gave birth to Jesus. It was a sacred moment to be cherished and experienced alone. They silently watched Jesus sleep. Their miracle baby.
Then suddenly the door of the stable opened letting in the cold night air. Standing there were men with dirty hands holding staffs. “Here He is,” the first one in the door shouted. “We were watching our sheep tonight. Then all of a sudden there were angels everywhere. They told us about Jesus,” they all tried to explain at the same time. Crowding around the manger, they stood in awe of the tiny sleeping baby. “Could He really be the Savior of the world?” they thought.
Mary didn’t say anything. She watched with wonder as they worshipped her son. It was a moment not to be ruined with words.
The shepherds left after a few minutes. They told everyone they saw about the baby who was in the stable and was the Savior of the world. They had seen Jesus.
As I sat in my kitchen, I wondered what would have happened if Mary had put a “Do not Disturb” sign on the stable door. She had every right to. She had just given birth to God’s Son–quite a ministry! She and Joseph needed some time alone to enjoy their son and try to think about how they were supposed to raise this perfect child. They couldn’t exactly seek advice from their family and friends.
But Mary had allowed the shepherds to come close. She watched silently as they worshipped Jesus. It was Him they had come to see, anyway. She never would have been bothered if Jesus was not there. She and Joseph would have enjoyed a quiet evening. Jesus changed all of that.
It struck me, “It is not me that people come to see.” They somehow know Jesus is with me. Probably angels in the sky didn’t tell them. But they know. And people will come to see Him.
Will I hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door? Or will I quietly invite them in and watch in wonder as they experience the Savior of the world and leave changed–praising God?
The next time my doorbell rings I will gladly open it. Jesus is waiting for them.
Copyright© by Jane Carole Stein