|Luke 2:1-7||Read Online|
Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.
I remember Christmas 1976 very well. It was our first Christmas as a missionary family on the island of Barbados. (Yes, it was beautiful.) But it was so odd for us, trying to celebrate Christmas while wearing shorts and flip-flops.
My mother was determined we’d have a live tree, so we checked the local newspaper to see when the next ship from the States was going to drop anchor in the Bridgetown harbor. We went to see if they might have some Christmas trees. They did!
We found a pathetic, spindly, overpriced tree, but it looked good to us homesick Americans—at least it did at first. By the time Christmas morning came, there wasn’t one needle left on that tree. It just couldn’t stand up to the humidity. Not a typical Christmas to be sure. Actually, it was unforgettable! We still talk about it today.
From Luke’s account, the very first Christmas was not typical—and it certainly isn’t forgettable. Just think of how this one event altered the march of time.
Think of all the times this story has been told. Think of all the people who’ve told it—and the people who have heard it. Think of all the places around the world where it’s been told—and all the places where it hasn’t yet been told. Is there a more famous story? There certainly isn’t a better one.
Even more importantly, the story also happens to be true. Now, a good story is a good story, but a good story that’s actually true is even better. And a good story that declares the goodness of God and proclaims the salvation of humankind is the absolute best!
In this account, we not only learn about the facts surrounding Jesus’ birth, but we also see Luke’s commitment to locating this event in the context of wider events. This isn’t a myth. This story is a historical fact—with real people and real places.
We see that Joseph wasn’t just a good citizen, but he was also a good man. He stuck with Mary, even though he risked ridicule and censure. And I’m confident that, though this Child wasn’t his in the natural sense, he loved this boy as his own son.
We see that God not only called young Mary to this unique task, but He also equipped her with endurance and compassion. She endured the arduous trip in her condition. She exhibited the tenderness of motherhood as she snugly wrapped her Child in less-than-perfect conditions. As we know, through other biblical accounts, this wasn’t the first time that Mary was faced with the utter uniqueness of this Child!
We also see the very heart of God in this story. Look at the extremes to which He went to get to us. Consider how He chose the lowliest of circumstances for His Son so no one could say Jesus couldn’t identify with the “least of these.” Reflect on how this one event not only fulfilled prophecy, but also changed the course of all subsequent history.
Every birth story is important, because every person is important. But this birth—this Child—has made all the difference, hasn’t it? It might seem odd to read this story so soon after Christmas, but for those of us who claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we’d do well to meditate on the reality of His birth all year long. It’s good news for you. It’s good news for me. And it’s good news for everyone.
- Will you thank God for His lavish generosity and creativity in sending His Son in such a beautiful manner?
- Will you praise Him for your salvation, and intercede for others who have heard the story but haven’t yet believed it?
- Will you cry out for those who have yet to hear? It’s just too good of a true story to keep to ourselves.