Luke 2: 1-7, 1 John 4: 9-10
Can you imagine the scramble of angels in heaven on the eve of Jesus' birth? "I thought you were taking care of the hotel reservations?" "No, YOU were making the reservations!"
Of course, it wasn't like that at all. As I continue this Advent series on manger characters, we come to the central character depicted in one of the nativity scenes in our home: Jesus, the Christ Child.
God always had a plan, so He and his company of angels were not caught off guard when it came time for Mary to deliver Jesus in Bethlehem, as described in Luke 2: 6-7:
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
No, God acted with intentionality. That intention frequently amazes me when I consider that Jesus was not born in a palace, did not come during an era when splendid hospital care was available, was not celebrated with an explosion of blue powder, was not given a big baby shower in advance with presents ordered online (I suppose the wise men took care of the shower gifts later).
Instead, Jesus was born in humble surroundings, in a stable, laid in a feeding trough instead of a crib. He started at the bottom! In doing so, God allowed us to relate to Jesus, and Jesus to relate to us, regardless of our station in life; God incarnate as Jesus experienced poverty and humility from the outset.
Overlaid with that humility was God's love for us. The Apostle John writes in his first letter (1 John 4: 9-10):
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
All in all, it's an incredible story: God appearing in humble fashion, with love in His heart, to teach us His ways, to experience and suffer life with us, to wrap His arms around us, to spread His arms to accept death on a cross for our sakes - not only for all of us, but for each of us individually.
In Advent and in Christmastime, I pray for you to know the full measure of Jesus' humility and love in your life. May it make a difference as you celebrate His birth!
If you have some time this Christmas holiday, I encourage you to listen to my monthly podcasts on Apple, Spotify and Podbean (search for "Cecil Taylor Monthly Podcasts"). There are 18 podcasts in my archive, including:
Season 1: The Fruits of the Spirit (9 sessions)
Season 2: The Himalayas of the New Testament (6 sessions and counting)
Podcasts vary in length from about 20 to 35 minutes, so they are perfect for a commute, or a half-hour task where you can listen in the background, or just some downtime before bed. Please subscribe on your chosen format so you can be notified of the next podcast each month.