A Backwater Event?
“And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” – Luke 2:7
The birth of Jesus snuck up on the world under a cover of obscurity. It was not celebrated by world celebrities or people of renown. They, as well as literally everyone else, were just oblivious of His birth.
This was not an event trumpeted to the world as the entrance of a King would normally be. The few primary subjects in the story, apart from the mysterious Magi who came months after, were from the lowest part of society. And it all took place, not in the world’s capitals or metropolis, but in the most obscure of villages, tiny Bethlehem of Judea, a true backwater place.
Mary, for sure, nor even Joseph, would even be in little Bethlehem for this birth, were it not for the all-powerful God of the universe sovereignly managing the affairs of men, orchestrating this birth in an animal stable; a depository for manure.
God directed by His providence the workings of a very disparate crowd of folk from the most powerful in the world, a prominent Caesar, to the most insignificant, poor peasant shepherds. Still forgotten prophets of ages past had foretold this unique birth repeatedly over centuries and even pinpointed the specific place in which it happened. (Micah 5:2)
Mary was forced to travel in the most vulnerable, dangerous, and inconvenient time of her life. And then, having given birth in extreme conditions, that is, of uncleanliness, cold temperatures, and lack of minimal newborn accessories, her baby entered the world facing brutal elements.
But how did some of the world come to know anything of His birth? Lowly shepherds! It is said they spread the word abroad after their visit to the baby’s side. Months later the Magi’s search drew the peculiar attention of soon-to-be baby-murderer, King Herod, and other notables in Jerusalem.
But it was the New Testament Word of God which years later spread the news to peoples of all tribes, races, and nations down through the centuries, until all hearers and readers of the Lukan account become aware of the details of this transcendent birth.
Not the way in which your own imagination would plan it, is it? The truth of Philippians 2 comes to the fore in this birth story. He emptied Himself! He took the form of a servant! He humbled Himself! All as the supreme example of those who love Him. If you imitate Him in anything, do so in these peculiar elements of His character.
Tomorrow you celebrate this event along with fellow believers of ages past and future, in homes of every economic level, from shack to mansion; this birth of One who was born to save His people from their sins.
Can you be diverted for a few moments from all the holiday trappings to focus your thoughts and your devoted worship of the Savior upon the manner and details of His birth? There is so much more than you realize on which to focus.
God the Father directed the nature of this birth in counsel with both His Son and Spirit, to be a birth just like this for a purpose. Consider this purpose in your own heart and soul. Meditate on it, imitate it; in the same manner you think about and live your life to the glory of God. He became a servant that you might follow in His footsteps. Become a true servant to those you are permitted to touch in your life. And love them as He loves you. Merry Christmas!
“May the love of Jesus fill me as the waters fill the sea; him exalting, self-abasing, this is victory.”
(Verse 4 of Kate Wilkinson’s hymn, “May the Mind of Christ My Savior,” 1925)
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