Luke 2:7 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.
As a child the birth of Christ carried a mysterious awe to me. My family had an illustrated family Bible (I still have it) when I was a young child. I can remember thumbing through those paintings over and over again. I can still see the picture of Christ in the stable clearly in my mind. As a matter of fact I still drag that old Bible out from time to time just to look at the pictures once again. I can still hardly take it in. The Son of God humbled Himself to become a man, He humbled Himself to be born amongst His dumb creatures (I’m talking about the donkeys, sheep, and oxen). His humility brought us great dignity. He didn’t become an angel, He became a man. That makes me His brother. Yes, the nativity is the greatest of all stories. Here are some words from a sermon preached on Christmas Day about 500 hundred years ago by Martin Luther.
“Christ, the Son of God, humbled Himself the way He did, in order to transfer all the glory to destitute human beings, and on top of that also transferred to them His divine majesty before which the holy angels tremble in awe, while He Himself lives like a poverty-stricken beggar. Up in heaven the Angels worship Him, while down here on earth He becomes our servant and beds Himself in our slimy sins and sinfulness. Now I say, because the Son of God has done this, we should learn from Him to gladly and humbly praise and glorify Him and His word, suffering every kind of sorrow in imitation of Him, and to follow His example. For what harm can befall us and why should we be ashamed of suffering? After all, our dear Lord suffered cold and hunger and sorrow and poverty, as we have told you. In the stall there were no bedpans nor any privacy whatsoever, no pillows, no diapers, no bedding. He had to lie in a manger beneath the cows and the oxen. Think of it, my kinsman, yes, my brother, the King of all creation in heaven and on earth, and of all creatures in them, lies there in such wretchedness!”
This Christmas, I hope to again stand in awe before the manger. I want to be humbled again by the honor of the Son of God becoming a man. I want that humility to transfer into my behavior. Lord, make me more like your Son.