So many things had to come together at exactly the right time for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem. Caesar Augustus had to decide it was time for a census (the first one under governor Quirinius), Joseph had to be in the direct lineage of King David, a star had to catch the attention of astronomers in the east; perhaps the only thing not out of the ordinary was the shepherds going about their normal work! If it were up to me, I would have opted for a clean bed in a good inn, but God chose to be born in the humblest of circumstances, a straw filled manger with only animals in attendance as the young couple brought their first Child into the world. What a picture of extremes, from rejection by an innkeeper to a birth announcement featuring angels and a star!
From Isaiah we first hear about God’s plans concerning this Baby; “Therefore the Lord Himself with give you a sign: Listen carefully, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will call his name Immanuel (God with us).” (Isaiah 7:14 Amplified Reading Bible). John expands on those words by saying, “And the Word (Christ) became flesh, and lived among us; and we [actually] saw His glory, glory as belongs to the [One and] only begotten Son of the Father, [the Sone who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, who is] full of grace and truth (absolutely free of deception).” (John 1:14).
Where is your heart this Christmas season? Have you posted an innkeeper to turn away the Baby? Are you busily scurrying around trying to clean it up to make sure its good enough… to reflect your own vision of yourself? Or have you thrown the door wide open and said, “Come on in, I don’t have anything You don’t already know about, but who I am and what I have is Yours”? Whether you need to let Him in for the first time, or if you need to move yourself out of the way so He can truly be Lord, Immanuel, God with you, please don’t wait.
In the little village of Bethlehem, there lay a child one day,
And the sky was bright with a holy light o’er the place where Jesus lay.
‘Twas a humble birthplace, but O how much God gave to us that day;
From the manger bed what a path has led, what a perfect holy.
Re: O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars to by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heav’n!
No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still the dear Christ enters in.