“This shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
The Savior of the world is born. Born to give us peace in the forgiveness of our sin. Born to give us the assurance of everlasting life. Born so that we might be reborn through His perfect birth and life for us.
But we have to admit, God chose very humble circumstances for the most important event in all of human history. On the very first Christmas, where’s someone as talented and famous as Mariah Carey to belt out a smash hit to announce Christ’s birth? Where’s the lighting of the big tree at Rockefeller Center, or the Macy’s Christmas Day parade? Or where’s Santa, the reindeer, and elves all joining together to announce the arrival of the King of all kings?
The most important event in all of human history is rather ushered in, by a handful of ordinary, average, poor, lowly people, in a stable. Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, and also some animals, in a stable.
Mary and Joseph were nobodies in the eyes of the world. The glory of their ancestor, King David, was long gone by their time. And they also were not unique in descending from King David. Many others had also.
In Mary’s own words, she was a lowly servant girl. And she married a carpenter. Nothing wrong with that profession, yet, not exactly high class, certainly not royalty, certainly not rich or famous.
And so how would anyone even know where to look for the Savior? No royal family to be found. No big fireworks to announce His arrival, no great displays of power and glory. Not even any room for them in the inn. The Savior of the World is born, but is laid in a cattle feeding trough, in a manger. Had they been rich or famous, or at least related to modern royalty, certainly there would have been room for them somewhere more glorious than a stable. But they were poor, and they were lowly, and they were unknown and ordinary.
And so how would the shepherds know where to look? What if the Angel had just said, “The Savior of the world is born, surely you can find Him”? Who would have known to look in a stable? Who would have guessed: a manger, if the Angel had not specifically told them so?
Why would God choose such humble circumstances for the most important event in human history? Scripture says, “The LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”
Man judges by how things look. He notices things that are big and shiny, powerful and exciting, beautiful and attractive, successful, rich, famous, and glorious. The extraordinary grabs our attention. And how easily we overlook the average, the ordinary.
God’s ways are not our ways. The most important event in all of human history, God willed to happen in an ordinary stable. His only-begotten Son was laid in an ordinary manger. Wrapped in ordinary strips of clothing.
We also may not be very extraordinary, at all, in the eyes of the world. Actually, our life probably means very little to the world. But, we mean the whole world to God, we mean everything to Him, and that’s all that really matters. He caused His only-begotten Son to be born in the most humble of circumstances, that we, through His poverty, might be made rich – rich in the forgiveness of our sin – rich in the assurance of life everlasting. So that we, through His lowliness, might be exalted all the way to heaven, to eternal life.
May we all have a very Merry Christmas, by being comforted, strengthened, assured in the humble, lowly, birth of the Savior. He says, “I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” For whoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life. That is the true meaning of Christmas. Amen.
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