So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. (Luke 1:4-7)
God did the most unnatural thing through the most natural means. God’s desire is that each person acknowledge sin, turn away from sin and embrace Almighty God as Lord. Throughout the Old Testament history, the Jews had Scripture that taught that God was the only true God and to be worshipped exclusively. Further, they were to treat other people well, dealing fairly with equals and taking care of the weak.
As we read we see a repetition of the pattern: faithfulness to God and brothers, declining into apostasy and abuse of the weak. God sent numerous prophets to call the people back. When the people listened, they returned for a generation and then fell away again.
This was no surprise to God. He had a plan for complete salvation waiting in the wings. He waited until there could be no mistake that it was impossible for anyone to live up to God’s standard. Everyone sins and falls short of the glory of God.
Therefore, He arranged for His Son to become fully man in addition to being fully God. The mission of the God/man, Jesus, was to be the innocent victim who would die as an atonement for the sin of the world. The process required, first, being conceived in a miraculous way, but growing naturally in a mother’s womb for 9 months.
Next after birth, Jesus, the Son of God would spend 30 years growing naturally into manhood and maturity. And only then assume the ministry of teaching about the kingdom of God. Finally, Jesus would voluntarily walk into death, innocent of all sin to die as the sacrificial victim. In His death, Jesus atoned for your sin and mine. He opened the way into life eternal. He established the way to live victoriously in this fallen world.
All this began one night with the birth of a baby. When Mary delivered the Baby Jesus, the Angels rejoiced and proclaimed the glorious news. The Shepherds came, saw and worshipped, and joyously evangelized on their way back to the sheep. Mary contemplated the life of her son, the innocent babe at her breast. Years later, John prepared the way for Jesus to minister, stating Jesus must increase and he, John, must decrease.
He must increase, but I must decrease.
He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to w
hat he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:30-36)
We celebrate the birth of the innocent on Christ’s Day with carols and worship and gift giving and feasting. It is the time of innocence and joy.
Nevertheless, Christ’s Day is the harbinger of the Passover celebration when the Lamb of God was sacrificed to atone for the sin of the world. Out of the depth of the sorrow over the death of the innocent One, who died in our place, we are raised up in joy three days later at the triumph over sin and death in the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. That innocent, weak babe we celebrate now became the triumphant Risen Christ!
Lord Jesus, I bow before Your Presence in humble submission. I am truly a sinner, but You have truly redeemed me by Your blood.
You came humbly as a baby. You submitted to the cries of thousands. You worked Yourself to exhaustion healing the sick and casting out demons. You demonstrated what life in God should be.
Give me the joy of the Angels in acknowledging You as the Good News to all men.
Give me the humility of the shepherds to come with empty hands and open heart to the manger to worship You as a baby.
Give me the wonder of Mary at the amazing love of God that as a baby and as an innocent victim You come to my rescue.
Give me the courage of John to proclaim the coming of the Lord in judgement, but also in love for those who surrender to You.
I am Yours, most loving Lord. Consecrate my life to You and Your ministry all the days of my life. At the end bring me through death to triumphantly enter Your Glorious Presence, and there dwell with You in love and joy forever.
To the Glory of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Amen