Every January, the Pennsylvania Farm Show hosts a “sheep-to-shawl” competition. At first it’s exciting – strips of wool sheared off docile (but unhappy) sheep, lots of action. But soon the process settles into a rhythm, become almost routine. Watching crowds drift away to grab something to eat, or visit other exhibits, intending to return closer to the end. But the process continues, under the watchful eyes of seasoned carders and weavers. In the end, their patient skill produces true works of art, shawls that are auctioned for hundreds of dollars.
Our lives as followers of Jesus is the same way – so much of life is “not exciting.”. But Jesus continues his patient work in us, through exciting moments, through painful moments, but mainly in the “day-to-day” of life. In the end, He’ll produce a unique masterpiece out of our lives that are worth far more than dollars.
The last verse of “Away in a Manger” includes this line: “And fit us for heaven, to live with Thee there.” In the coming year, some of us will make that final trip beyond death. But all year long, Jesus is “fitting us for heaven,” preparing us, like a unique shawl, to be masterpieces fit for life in His presence.