How does OU's party street mirror Jesus' manger?
When God become man, he was born into a mess. And not just into a jumbled hospital room or a cluttered bed, but into a literal trough for cattle feeding. His mother, Mary, was turned away from every hotel and had to give birth without any medical assistance by her side. The God of the world, our creator and savior, spent his first moments lying in a manger, surrounded by farm animals and dirt. God humbled himself from the very second he was born into this world, showing his true mission to lay down his life for us. Since He is all-powerful, he could have given himself a first-class ticket onto Earth, but this wouldn't reflect his business here. God came to serve, not to be served.
Mill Street at Ohio University mirrors Jesus' manger. It's the messy house-party central, flooded with drinking and partying at Ohio's party school. College students wander to that hilly, chaotic road on the weekends, looking for a fun night. It's a popular place to be, what can I say?
But smack in the middle of the chaos is Christ the King Parish. Just how Jesus was born into that messy manger, the church is a virtuous light on that messy street. CTK isn't at the top of the hill, swarming with people and attention, but humbly at the bottom, visited by a select few. It isn't on any OU main attraction lists, or even considered to be worth a visit to most people, just like Jesus in view by this modern-day world. But CTK is a house of the God of the universe, who died to save us all. God isn't concerned about His church being surrounded by a clean and holy neighborhood, for being the unceasing light in that darkness is the calling. He's cool with his church at the bottom of Mill Street's messy hill, just like he was born into a messy manger.
When Jesus wants a relationship with us, he will never wait until we become perfect and holy. Quite frankly, we can never achieve those things without the light of Christ in us. During his time here on Earth, he didn't come to hang out with the righteous, but rather associated with the sinners. Just like from the beginning in the manger, Jesus enters into the mess of our lives. When we are so crushed by sin and darkness in this world, he is the only light that will pull us out. He didn't come to be served and set high on the shoulders of people. He came to free us from our sins and to open the gate to eternal salvation. We are called to die to ourselves, so that we may be filled with Him alone, in order to bring about the greatest peace there is. If we join him in his suffering and self-emptying, then we will join him when we rise.
Mill Street and the manger represent the mess of our lives, and Jesus and his Church enter in to save us. Jesus is the light in all the darkness and came to bring us into eternal life with Him forever. When you find yourself in the mess of this world, consider coming to Christ, who is waiting there with you. You never know what mess he could lift you out of and what light he will put into your life. Being born into the mess of the manger was intentional, and he wants to enter the mess of your life, too.