"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 room for them in the inn." Luke 2:4-7
Jesus came into our world with no earthly fanfare. There was no choir present in robes with hymnals singing praises to Him. There was no guilded sanctuary in Jerusalem into which Mary bore him. There was no incense burning to signify that God had come to earth in the form of a human being. Nope. It was quiet. There were a few animals in the stable, and there were some shepherds tending their flocks of sheep nearby. That was it.
Why no bells and whistles? Why all the humble beginnings for the future king of Israel and Savior of the world? Wouldn't it have made sense for Jesus to have been born to a religiously prominent family in Jerusalem. Perhaps a family that had some major connections to broadcast the actual birth of the future Messiah of Israel?
It would have made perfect sense to us. But, I believe that God does not do things in the way we would do them. I believe that God did not choose to have His Son raised by one of the popular, Jewish, religious groups because he was not interested in their leadership. The leaders in Israel were corrupt, power-grabbing, ladder-climbing fools. The only interest they had in God's Messiah was to gain something for themselves.
So, instead God chose to use the influence of a common, Jewish family, who essentially lived in obscurity, to raise His Son.
What speaks to me about that idea is that God wanted an average family to make a world-wide difference. Before Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph were not household names. They were just like you and me. But God chose to use them to absolutely change the world.
In that lonely stable, with some average people, God brought his magnificent light into the world to dispel the darkness. That's what He wants to do in your life tonight, tomorrow, the next day and the next. Jesus's desire is to shine His light into your life to give you hope, purpose, and life that will never end. He does this without asking your permission or holding a bunch of obligations over your head. He does this willingly for your benefit and for the glory of God.
Jesus's story began in that beautiful, commonplace stable... so quiet and serene and yet so full of the light of God. May we not miss His light this Christmas Eve. May we not be distracted by all the fanfare. Instead, may His hope, purpose, and life awaken you tonight to the new life He has planned for you for today and for the rest of your life!
Todd and Meredith