by Jim Black
Friday, Nov 30, 2007
It was Christmas Eve. I was delivering a basket of food and toys to a family that our church was sponsoring. And I drove by it again. There was the Nativity scene – Mary, Joseph, the angels and shepherds, and right in the middle, the baby Jesus – sitting serenely on the roof of the strip club.
The first time I saw this was two years before, and I laughed at the sight; it just didn’t seem to fit. The second year I wondered what the owners were thinking that they would do this. And on this Christmas Eve I just had to find out.
I noticed that the door to the club was open. It was around 3 in the afternoon, and I parked my car and walked to the door, glancing nervously over my shoulder. What if someone saw me, a pastor, walking into this den of sin in broad daylight? Would anyone understand? Would my career be over? I peeked inside, wondering what I would find.
To my relief, the club was not open and there was a Christmas party being held for the staff…with everyone fully clothed! I asked for the owner, and a woman around 60 years old approached me. I introduced myself, and I said how much I admired the Nativity scene on her roof. She began to tell me about her belief in God, and how much she needed the Lord’s help in her life. I hadn’t planned what I was going to say, and I didn’t feel the Lord prompting me to preach to her in any way about the obvious disparity of the scene. I told her I was a pastor and I encouraged her to keep on talking with and listening to Jesus. She told me that she had tried to go to church before, but she just didn’t feel like she belonged there, and she knew what they would think of her if they ever found out what she did for a living. I told her she was welcome at our church anytime. After wishing each other a Merry Christmas I turned to leave. She thanked me for stopping in, and she told me that she had never really talked with a pastor before.
As I drove away, the strip club Nativity scene in my rear view mirror, I suddenly realized just how much it fit – Jesus didn’t come to the world to stay away from sinners (myself included), but He was born right into the middle of the filth, pain and longing of humanity. He loved sinners, they loved him; he lived with them, touched them – they were the main reason he came. It was in the religious world that he didn’t fit.
I wish I could say that the owner of the club came to church and was transformed that Christmas (then I could have written a book that would sell!) but I never saw her again, and the club was soon closed. As I prayed for her that day I realized that our meeting was for my benefit.
If Jesus came again today for the first time, where would he be found? In a beautiful church? Or in a place that at first would shock us and not seem to fit? In my mind I heard Him saying to me, “I really do love the world… “Go and do likewise…”
Take from: The OOZE