Imagine for a moment that you were present when Jesus was born. Imagine how Mary must have felt. Can you see her? A poor, young, scared girl aware of what she will be doing but unaware of how it will all play out. She is tired from her journey and the pains of childbirth add even more exhaustion. The night is cold in the desert, but she is sweating, excited about her child, but at the same time nervous about her responsibility.
Think about the moment Christ was born. Picture God, looking down from Heaven at a world caught up in so much sin it could never find its own way out. See the tear in His eye, as He thinks about what He has to do. Watch him as He sets down His crown, leaves His throne, closes His eyes, and descends into our world. When He opens His eyes, He is a baby. A helpless child, needing His mother for food, clothing, and every basic need.
As He looks around His surroundings, it is easy to tell that He is no longer in Heaven. His palace has been replaced with a stable. His throne is a trough that animals once drank out of. His royal robes have been replaced with rags, and His crown has been replaced with human flesh. He breathes in to take in His surroundings and the smell is not pleasant. Animals, straw, fur, and sweat.
The air around Him is cold, and for the first time ever, He shivers. For the first time, He is able to feel pain and discomfort. As a baby, He cannot communicate who He is, nor can He communicate His discomfort, so He does the one and only thing He can do to express His feelings. He cries.
Imagine Joseph, as he holds and comforts the baby for the first time. He knows the child is not his own, but that he must love him and treat him as though he is. What a responsibility he has. How will he ever do it? In his arms, he is holding not just a baby, not just the savior of man, but God Himself, wrapped in human flesh. The thought alone is frightening to Joseph, and as he holds the newborn baby, he says small prayer. “Lord, please don’t let me do any wrong by you. Let my words and actions serve you, so that you may accomplish your earthly task.”
The Shepherds look on in awe of this scene. Here, in this tiny, dark, damp and dingy stable, a helpless child has been born to a poor couple from Nazareth, they are scarcely able to afford their own food and clothing, yet they have been entrusted with this child from Heaven. There are no loud blows of a trumpet, no joyful band of angels, and no lightening flashes or thunder claps. In fact, other than Mary, Joseph, the baby, and the Shepherds, no one else is aware that this child born in Bethlehem is the promised one. To them, the night came and went just like any other ordinary night.
This was no ordinary night though, for on this night, something mysterious and strange had happened. God had traded His throne for a cradle. Not only that, He announced His arrival to two peasants and some shepherds instead of to kings and religious leaders. On this night, God revealed to ordinary people His extraordinary plan. And on this night, God brought hope to the sinful and the common, the poor and the needy. On this night, God showed that His love was for everyone. While there may have been no room at the Inn for Mary and Joseph, this night revealed that there was always room in the place God has prepared in the Kingdom of Heaven.
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