Prepare to listen and light all the candles, including the white one. Pray: ‘O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things.’ (Psalm 98:1)
Prayerfully Read Luke 2:1-7
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph 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. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And 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 Savior of the world, 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 pregnant Mary to Bethlehem. After all that detail, a few words describe the birth of Messiah. Far from home and family support, Mary gave birth, ‘wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.’ And no one celebrated his birth.
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.” His birth resembled births among the poor and the marginalized. Luke has emphasized the humble birth, highlighting how much it resembled births among the poor, the marginalized, the despised. Jesus was born into poverty, lived and ministered among the poor and ended up dying with the poor.
‘She gave birth’ to her firstborn son far from the help and support of family and friends. He would become the most well-known son in all the world. But no one celebrated his birth.
Why do you think Jesus was born in such a humble and unannounced manner?
Respond to Jesus
Lord Jesus you entered the world sin meekness and simplicity. Even as I celebrate your birth this Christmas, help me understand and live in the humble style you chose to live. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world into which Christ was born.