In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town. Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors! When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard, which were just as they had been told.
Throughout the entire Old Testament, the Jews were expecting a conquering king to one day save them, and yet God chose for Jesus to come as a baby and be born to a poor teenaged girl. What was His first outfit? Rags. Who were His first visitors? Stinky shepherds. How would He save us? Not by victory with the sword, but by dying a criminal’s death on the cross. He is worthy of all praise, glory and honor, yet our God is humble! How does God’s humility move your heart to worship Him today?
John 1:14 in the Message Translation says, “The Word (Jesus) became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” How comforting it is to know that our God humbly moved in next door! We do not worship a God who is a distant, angry Santa. We celebrate our Savior who is “Immanuel” (God with us)!
God, thank you for coming near to me by sending Jesus. Thank you for modeling your humility in the nativity story and giving me hope, not just at Christmas, but all year round and for eternity.
Read the Christmas story to your family on Christmas morning.