“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
Clean, is not the fitting word to describe the entrance of Jesus into our world. For those who know even a little something about childbirth, clean isn’t really how someone would choose to describe it.
And while childbirth is not considered a clean event, the nativity...or at least the ones I look at, provide an implied, glorious ambience that makes the atmosphere of whatever stable or barn it’s set in feel more….well, clean than they really are.
I won’t visit the other factors in play here: smelly shepherds, or the overcrowded streets of Bethlehem due to the registration (taxation) taking place….I just want to focus on one detail of the scene that we observe in Luke chapter 2.
Have you ever watched an animal eat? Up close? How “clean” is that situation? I’ll say this much: I don’t care how much straw you put in my dog’s food dish, I’m not ready to take a nap in it even if it is big enough to hold me! It’s dirty. It smells….bad.
And that’s where Jesus was laid. It was into filth that He was born. It was without royal attire and parades in the streets which He deserves.
He chose to come humbly. As the old Christmas song goes: “Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel!” He chose to become a human to save humans from sin. It wasn’t about the conditions He was going to live in, it was about the mission that He would accomplish.
And so God Himself, became dust just as we are dust. And He experienced the aroma of life, good and bad. He tasted the flavors of life, good and bad. He experienced the emotions, good and bad.
And as lowly as He came to this earth, He died….exposed….beaten….disfigured….and humiliated.
When I think of the manger into which Christ was laid, it stirs up love and affection for the One who deserved everything perfect and glorious….
...but chose to do life the hard way. It was the Father’s plan from the beginning to lay upon Him the sin of us all. And so Jesus came into the dirt and filth of our world humbly, to prove that He is the only One by which human beings can be saved.
This Christmas, remember that most of us will be warmer, cleaner, and more comfortable than our Savior was on the day He was born.
He did it for you and me. He did it because He loves us.
Merry Christmas everyone. May we all go deeper in our love and fellowship with our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ in the new year!