There’s nothing like the smell of shavings when you walk into a barn at a livestock show. In one breathe sweet memories sweep across your mind like a movie on the big screen and you instantly feel at home.
I had that sensation as I walked into Freedom Hall at the recent North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky. It was late one night and I had posted the last picture of the day’s show, slung my camera over my shoulder and spent a little time just walking the aisles of cattle. Several scenes played across the screen in front of me as I strolled around clipping chutes, feed pans and straw packs. On my left, two older men were swapping stories of days gone by while across the aisle a young fitter covered in cow hair and adhesive was winding up his cords and oiling his clipper blades.
I glanced straight ahead into the milking parlor and saw a man milking a cow and chatting with his buddy who sat on a bucket nearby. I turned down another aisle and to my right was a dad sitting with his daughter dressed in her pajamas, sharing some fruit snacks before she crawled into the tent for bed and up ahead were two teenage boys staring at their phones passing the night hours away as they watched the cows.
On a Saturday night in the center of a busy city, people were prepping cows for the last big show of the year. They would show, a few would win, they would celebrate and go back to the farm.
Over 2000 years ago on the outskirts of a busy city in a smelly stable, two people were also spending the evening with cattle but this time it was without clippers, without shavings and no blue ribbons. Instead they were prepping to deliver a Savior. Scared, cold and questioning, they were in for the night of their lives. A night that would change the world. A night when the lost would soon be found, the blind would soon see and the prisoners would be set free.
A child was born for you and for me. Open your eyes, find Him and be free. Merry Christmas.