A South African diamond miner found one of the world’s largest diamonds. It was the size of a small lemon. The miner needed to get the diamond safely to the company’s office in London, so he sent it in a small steel box and hired four men to carry it.
Even when it was in the ship’s safe en route, it was guarded day and night by at least two armed men. But when the package arrived at the company’s office in London and was carefully opened, it contained no diamond. Rather, it contained a lump of black coal.
Three days later, the diamond arrived by ordinary parcel post in a plain package. The owner had assumed correctly that most people would not pay attention to an ordinary cardboard box.
The reason I love this story is because it encapsulates the Christmas event. Jesus Christ, God Himself Incarnate, came into this world, not in some fine palace with much pomp and circumstance, but rather in a lowly manger amidst common folk.
And why? For many reasons, no doubt. And yet, chief among them was surely to clearly communicate that He Who was to be called “Immanuel” or “God With Us” was making Himself available to all people in all circumstances.
And that gives me hope! For even if the world looks upon me as insignificant and chooses to ignore me as a result, God does not. He values me, no matter who I am. And it is for this very reason that He comes to me exactly where I am. You might say that He meets me on my very own turf!
One time Poet Laureate of Texas, Grace Noll Crowell, summarized these thoughts succinctly in her poem titled I Am So Glad:
I am so glad He was not born
In some rich palace bed.
I am so glad to know it was
A lowly place, instead,
A place where soft-eyed cows and sheep
Were sheltered and were fed.
For to the country-born of earth
a stable will ever be
A wholesome place where night comes down
With its tranquility,
A place of heart’s ease and content
For all who choose to see.
And so I like to think of Him,
First opening His eyes
In that good elemental place
Beneath the friendly skies,
That the men of fields could find Him there,
As well as the great and wise.
STORY SOURCE: My copy of this story is without sourcing. However, the piece itself has been around for a long period of time. It appears in numerous works and in differing versions as a result. See for example: Jack Mccormac, The Sketching Detective and the Bluffton Murders (Xlibris Publishing, 2014), pp. 172-174.
POEM SOURCE: This is likewise available widely. See, for instance: http://www.bulletingold.com/goldvol10_12.html.