Day 6: The Christ of Christmas
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11, ESV).
Jesus’ birth was many things, but “normal” was not one of them. I say that reverently, but it cannot be ignored that the circumstances surrounding His birth made it far different from any other birth that has happened or will ever happen.
First of all, His birth was remarkably humble. His first bed was a manger, which is an animal feeding trough. It was not the cute, cozy kind you see in nativity scenes, but a real manger—one in which there was probably animal spit and leftover food. I don’t say that to be gross, but rather to emphasize the humble beginning of the One who came to us as God in human form. But it was part of God’s plan that He came this way, though He truly deserved far more.
The Bible tells it like this: “The time came for her [Mary] to give birth. 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: 6-7, ESV).
It’s important to note that it says that “there was no place for them in the inn.” It seems odd that no one would have given up their place for a woman who was about to give birth, but it is certainly fitting for the life of our Savior, who was “despised and rejected”—all so we could be redeemed and accepted (Isaiah 53).
But Jesus’ birth, while humble, was also divine. Right after He was born, we read these words:
“In the same region [where Jesus was born] there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:8-11, ESV).
How incredible must it have been to be one of those shepherds? They heard a message directly from heaven announcing the birth of their Savior. And it’s important we recognize that God intentionally proclaimed that Jesus had come into this world as God to be our Savior.
With this proclamation, the shepherds also learned that Jesus’ birth would bring comfort and joy to the world. Look again at what the angel said: “I bring you good news of great joy…” Why did His birth bring those things? It’s all rooted in the true reason for His coming, which we’ve appreciated so much already this week. He came into this world to save us from our sins. He came to show us how much God loves us by taking those sins on Himself and paying the price for them so we would never have to. What could bring more comfort and joy than that?
These things should also cause us to worship, and that is exactly what happened at Jesus’ birth… “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest…’” (Luke 2:13-14, ESV).
And there was not only public praise to God but also the personal worship of Mary and the shepherds, who experienced firsthand the glory of God revealed to them: “They made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:17-20, ESV).
How could they have done anything else? The Savior of the world—their Savior—was just born. God had made a way of salvation from the punishment of their sin (and ours). He’d made a way for all people to be brought back into a relationship with Him.
As we reflect on these details of Jesus’ birth, may we also worship the Lord Jesus for all that He means to us. His birth didn’t have to be normal or great, because what He came to do was great. I pray you’ll know the truth of that for yourself as you remember the One who was born to be the Savior of the world.