So many streets are lined with nicely decorated homes for the Christmas season. The wreaths, red bows and holly hanging on the doors; the windows lit up with flickering candles; lights carefully mounted on houses and strung on shrubs and trees all add to the warmth and festive nature of Christmas.
Romantic Birth Scenes
If you look close enough, often you will see a nativity scene on the front lawn or a miniature scene on the fireplace mantle within. The focal point is a little wooden cradle with a neatly wrapped doll inside. Figurines of a loving mother and a watchful father, a few shepherds kneeling before the cradle in wonder and some barn animals resting nearby. There is something romantic about the scene.
With all the miniature scenes and ornamental displays for us to view at Christmas time, we could lull ourselves into thinking the birth of Christ was just as warm, welcoming and romantic as all of this. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Anything But Any Easy Trip
The Government made no exceptions for extenuating circumstances and unusual hardships. All must travel to their assigned cities to be registered for taxation. For the carpenter and his wife who was nine months pregnant they too must travel. For them it meant 90 miles over bumpy winding roads, up one hill and down another from Nazareth to Bethlehem. We can only imagine the extreme discomfort and weariness Mary experienced as the little donkey carried her.
All The Rooms Are Filled
When they arrived at Bethlehem, no one had room for the expectant Mary and Joseph. No one was willing to give up their bedroom to accommodate the couple in their distress.
Was it an act of kindness? Did a resident offer them one of his limestone caves usually occupied by sheep at night? Or did Joseph find the crude underground stable himself?
Perhaps you imagined a nice little tidy, picture-book barn, painted and pretty, with clean straw strewn on the floor and a cozy wooden rocking cradle for the infant. Not a chance!
The crude shelter in the rock would reek with the putrid odours of animal manure and urine mixed together. Cobwebs clung to the rocks and the place crawled with the type of insects that thrive in raw conditions. Somewhere in that dirty cave accustomed only to bedding animals, Joseph found Mary a place to bring her firstborn child into the world. The pain and agony of childbirth was only intensified by the primitive surroundings of the dark cave that night.
Heaven To Earth – No Ordinary Birth
With no mid-wife available and no nursing assistance other than her carpenter-husband, the child was born. Mary had brought along some swaddling clothes to wrap around her baby. The cries of the newborn infant pierced the silence of the night in the darkness of the cave. Christ from Heaven had arrived.
God had become man. He never stopped being what He always was – God; but He became what He never was before – a Man. The truth of God becoming man is staggering. Little wonder the Bible says: ‘Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh…” 1 Timothy 3:16. But even more staggering is why God became a man.
Lost Without Him
We were irrecoverably lost in our sins. Humanly speaking there was no way for us to repair ourselves or to produce a self-remedy for our spiritual disease. We were unfit and unacceptable to the Holy God: more than that, we were helpless.
How did God respond to our plight? Here’s what the Bible says: Christ “made himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:7-8)
Please never entertain the nasty notion even for a moment that God doesn’t love you. He does and He proved it! But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
From the Manger to The Cross
Christ was born to die. That’s why He came. Sins against God are a capital offence requiring death. Rather than sinners bearing the punishment and penalty for their sins, Christ came down to do that for them. It was God’s desire that Christ would die for our sins. He voluntarily laid down his life on the Cross.
If you think His birth was the epitome of poverty and lowliness – how ever would you find words to describe His death?
Have you ever thanked God for the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you ever seen beyond the tinsel, trees and Christmas treasures and appreciated the truth of ‘why’ Christ came into the world?
Doors Are Still Shut Today
The question today is not whether there’s room in the inn for Him – it’s whether there’s room in your heart for Him.