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’s something romantic about the scene.
With all the miniature scenes and ornamental displays for us to view at Christmas time, we could almost believe the actual 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 Roman Empire 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 145 kilometers 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 and urgent need.
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 who He always was – God; but, He became what He never was before – a Man. The truth of God becoming man is staggering. The Gospel of John, in its entirety, is an excellent book in the Bible to read. But consider these few amazing verses referring to Jesus as ‘The Word’:
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him. (John 1:1-3 NLT)
That’s who Jesus is – The Word! Now read this verse in the same chapter:
So, the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. (John 1:14 NLT)
The Bible, in another section tells us this:
God was manifest in the flesh…” 1 Timothy 3:16.
The staggering question of Christmas is this: why did God become a man? Follow the logic in the story:
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 Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 CSB)
Please, never entertain the nasty notion – even for a moment, that God does not love you. He does and He proved it!
But God demonstrates (proves) His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NASB)
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. (Ezekiel 18:20, Romans 6:23) 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 Jesus 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 would you ever find words to describe the kind of death He died?
Have you ever thanked God for Jesus? Have you ever seen beyond the tinsel, trees and Christmas treasures and appreciated the truth of ‘why’ Christ came into the world? Would you like to get personal this Christmas season? Ask yourself: did Jesus ever do anything for me for which I should thank Him?
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. If you could make room for Him today and receive Him as your Saviour – this would be the most blessed Christmas you have ever had. The peace and joy you find in Jesus Christ will last beyond this Christmas season. It will be yours for the rest of your life and into eternity.
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