|Posted on December 5, 2018 at 9:55 AM|
One of the most touching facts of the Christmas story is the humble circumstances of the birth of Jesus. It is always amazing to consider the sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe, the very son of God, entering the world he made himself as a helpless infant. The only ones who took note of his birth were common folks while the elite rulers of the world were completely oblivious to the most momentous event in human history. Such humility was certainly not an accident or some kind of glitch in the timing, but a clear demonstration of divine love and concern for the welfare of the world.
Certainly, God could have made arrangements for the birth of Jesus to impress the world. He could have been born under much different circumstances more fitting for the King of Kings to make his first appearance in the world. But he was not interested in impressing the world but loving it. So, he planned for a private entrance under the most unassuming and humble circumstances through being born of a woman in a stable outside of Bethlehem. Jesus entered this world just like a common “nobody” in a third-world country without the comforts or support of the civilized world.
One of the more poignant facts concerning his humble birth is the lack of room for him in the inn. From the narrative we are not told exactly why there was no room for them in the inn. Most likely there was an influx of people from out of town due to the taxation decree from Caesar and many folks were not able to find accommodations. While the inn keeper has been the subject of scorn for turning them away, he probably did so out of ignorance and as a courtesy to those he cared for. Making room for them in the inn would require putting someone else out and there is no mention of Joseph and Mary insisting on staying or lodging a complaint. Again, God could have made room for them, but he was not as interested in making them comfortable as he was in using them to love the world. So, Jesus was given a manger for a crib.
So, what does the humble birth of Jesus teach us about God? Knowing that he sent his son into this world to reveal his true character of love we can begin to see the true nature of his love expressed in the humble circumstances of the birth of Jesus. The true meaning of humility is not that we think of ourselves as being less than others, but that we think of ourselves less than we think of others. Arranging the humble circumstances surrounding the birth of our Savior was not an indication that God abandoned his infant Son, but rather proof of his love for the world. There were no demands on the elite ruling class nor the hospitality of the inn keeper. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to save it. True love makes no demands on the ones loved.
What God desires more than anything else is a truly loving relationship with all humanity. He could not and will not use any kind of coercion to make us love him. That would produce only a forced compliance out of fear. Instead, he comes to us in love with our welfare, not his, in mind. The humble circumstances of his birth were just the beginning of showing us his love. His sacrificial death on the cross some thirty-three years later proved beyond all doubt the full dimensions of God’s love for the world. How we respond to that display is our choice.