Bible Reading: Luke 1:1-7
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7)
Christmas came in the midst of an evil and merciless time. At that time, Mary was in her late pregnancy. Yet, a man of great power, Caesar Augustus, thought that it would be about time to hold a worldwide census. This great man was proud of his power and achievements. He was the epitome of human pride and rebellion against God — a man who thought he was omnipotent without God.
When Caesar called for a census, he had no mercy. He ordered all people to return to their hometowns. There was no mercy for people like Mary, who was soon to give birth. What would have Mary thought? There would have been nothing but bitterness in her heart towards such evil and pitiless men.
Mary was forced to walk hundreds of miles to Bethlehem. It was a death wish. How could she endure such a journey when she was about to give birth anytime? Evil reigned at that time, and evil wanted to crush Christmas.
When Joseph and Mary got to Bethlehem, there was no place in any inn. All the rooms were full, and there was no room for a woman to give birth. How hopeless would have Mary and Joseph felt? What curse of sin left this couple no room to give birth? Why were they deprived of basic necessities any human deserves? What sin caused so much suffering?
The only place to stay that was available was an animal’s stable. It must have been a filthy place filled with animal dung. No reasonable human would stay the night in such a place waiting with bacteria and diseases. Yet, in desperation, Joseph cleaned up the stable for Jesus to be born. He lined the animal manger, that food tray filled with animal saliva, to place the coming Baby.
The place was filth. From an outsider’s view, there was no dignity in this birth. This was an example of the degrading experience of suffering as a result of sin’s curse. Yet, in such a place, Jesus was born. Evil could not sway God’s plan. In a humiliating place, a Saviour for mankind was born. There was hope in the darkest place.
This is the essence of Christmas — God incarnates to overturn the darkest places in our hearts to bring forth light. He is willing and able to give us hope in our broken and sinful hearts. Have we accepted Him? Has His love overflowed in our hearts? Can we rejoice at the joy of Christmas, praising Him for what He has done?
May we remember His love once again this Christmas.
Lord, thank You for Your love shown through Your Son on Christmas. We praise You for You bring hope in the midst of the darkest evil. In Your wrath, You do not forsake Your people. Yet, You sent a Saviour so that those who believe might be reconciled with You. Teach us to rejoice and to love You more. In Jesus’ name, amen.