Week 4, Day, December 24: She gave birth
Prepare to listen. Prepare to listen. Light all the colored candles. Silently pause then receive this assurance: ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.’ (Lk 1:10)
Read: Luke 2:1-7
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
The birth of Jesus, the Son of God, the promised and longed-for Messiah, the one to bring salvation to all creation, is told briefly and undramatically! Tacked on at the end of a paragraph that names two rulers (who are insignificant to the story of Jesus), a decree to be registered for tax purposes (highlighting the suffering people lived with under Roman rule), and the journey of Joseph and Mary (‘great with child’ as the KJV puts it) to Bethlehem. After all that detail, just a few words about the birth of Messiah—she gave birth, ‘in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.’ And that’s it. As J. B. Philips wrote, “God’s insertion of himself into human history was achieved with an almost frightening quietness and humility. There was no advertisement, no publicity, no special privilege; in fact the entry of God into his own world was heartbreakingly humble.”
Of course, the fanfare will come, not in that ‘lowly stable’ at the moment of birth, but to shepherds outside the town in the hills. Jesus’ actual birth was unannounced and unnoticed, except by Mary and Joseph. But, if it was undramatic then, the Church of Christ has sure made up for it over the centuries. Each year we pause to celebrate the coming of God into the world as an infant and rejoice with great joy. And so we should.
What will you do this Christmas to celebrate ‘she gave birth’ to God?
Respond to Jesus in prayer
Lord Jesus, may you be born in me again today so that I can bring you to the world you love. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world where Christ was born.