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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: Astonish as in… can the stable still astonish us?

The conversation around the table moved through several of the most recent devotions from Welcome the Seasons. We were astonished at the timing of encountering “Empty” on December 7, an important anniversary, and the same day we happened to tour the WWII exhibit in New Orleans. We processed the emptiness we were feeling, creating space for the filling that came through our conversation.

The next day we read “Imagine” and noted, with more astonishment, the anniversary of John Lennon’s death. Imagine the sense of convergence. Our conversation eventually brought us to Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Christ, the incarnation of God who, in this baby, takes on flesh and blood and moves into our neighborhood, again and again.

We were astonished at how God comes to us, how God steps into our deep, dark, often dank existence and brings light and life. God steps into the raw reality of our stables and reminds us that there is no distance God will not go, no place where God will not inhabit to rescue, redeem, and restore us to wholeness.

And then this lovely poem by Leslie Leyland Fields surfaced, which captured the very essence of what it means to arrive at the stable, and be astonished…


Let the stable still astonish:
Straw-dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And the, the child,
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry
In a trough.

Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said: “Yes,
Let the God of all the heavens and earth
be born here, in this place.”?

Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker, fouler rooms of our hearts
and says, “Yes, let the God
of Heaven and Earth
be born here—

In this place.”


Astonishing, isn’t it? The “this place” where the God of heaven and earth is born is in us. God can do anything. But look what God chose to do! That’s astonishing.

Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or on his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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