The time of year has come around again, and to be honest, it’s come up much more suddenly than other years. We are all busy in the hustle and bustle of day to day life, and all of a sudden Christmas is less than three weeks away.
Being busy isn’t bad, but I think it is important that we stop and reflect for a moment. Some two thousand years ago, there was a young pregnant woman, with her fiance, and they were looking for somewhere to stay for the night. She was about to have her baby. As we all know from the account given in the gospel of Luke, there was no room in the inn, so Mary and Joseph ended up in the stable, with the animals. What a stage had been set for the entry of such a King.
Had we planned this, it would have gone very differently. The King of kings is entering the scene of mankind to bring life and salvation. We would have cleared out the inn entirely. The whole staff of this bed and breakfast would have been catering to Mary’s every need, Jesus would have been born and instantly wrapped in the finest cloth, and in the softest bed. Announcements would have gone out. Little blue “its a boy” cards, with His weight, length, and possibly a footprint.
However, this wasn’t what happened. Jesus was born in that stable that night. The Bible tells us that He was placed in a manger, which sounds almost cute. This wasn’t some nice soft manger with fresh hay and a glowing light above it. This wasn’t the “manger special crib” from Ikea. This was the feeding trough for the animals in the stable. This was where they ate. Jesus was placed in a food trough. It would have smelled. It would have been pretty gross, but it was good enough for God.
You see, God came to dwell with men with a purpose in mind. Jesus’ purpose was to reach out to men, to give them opportunity to respond to God through something other than the law. To give mankind something more personal than the ten commandments. God gave them a person, someone they could talk to, and see, and touch. Something tangible to them. Jesus lived among the people. He was not set apart from them as something greater than they could attain. Jesus made efforts to relate to people. He spent a good amount of time sitting at the dinner table, talking with tax collectors, and prostitutes. On more than one occasion, Jesus reached out and physically touched people that the world wouldn’t have gone near. Then, some thirty years after this common birth, Jesus was nailed to a cross where He died for the sins of the world. This is the greatest picture of love we have ever seen, that God would come down and die for sinful, undeserving men.
He returned three days later, having conquered death, and He will return again in all of His glory and splendor, but consider the first picture we see of Jesus.
He was a baby, He couldn’t take care of Himself.
He was poor, Mary and Joseph didn’t “have it made” Joseph was just a carpenter.
Jesus was born without even the extended family coming in and celebrating. There wasn’t too much of a big deal made out of it that day, but it was the greatest day in history to that point.
“But He made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” – Philippians 2:7-8