Experience Christmas is a 19-day devotional series based on the Scriptural narrative and aimed at creating space during a beautiful, but hectic time of year to wonder at the miracle of Christmas. You’re joining us on day eleven, with music from Chris Rice and a look into the manger at Bethlehem.
The grand stage of God’s plan is set with the major players prepped and in place. Mary is in the final days of her pregnancy, and with Joseph, they have arrived at the prophesied birthplace of Messiah. The world is moments away from welcoming the Son of God.
If I were unveiling the plan of redemption, it would be heralded with parades and celebrations through every known town on earth. There would be royalty and celebrity, intellectuals and influential leaders of every kind called to lend their welcome to the King of all Kings. It would be grand and glorious and unforgettable.
Holy. Omnipotent. Omniscient. Omnipresent. God.
Chose a different kind of welcome.
His Child will be ushered into a city overcrowded with census travelers, busy about their own affairs. The two He called as parents are unable to secure a room to stay, and end their journey in the company of lowly farm animals. Mary labors as any other woman, struggling to breathe through contractions and the pain they send radiating through her body. Joseph, an unlikely midwife, assists Mary in the ways she cannot help herself. This birth is likely messy and long, punctuated by the open-air cries of a newborn babe who is hushed and swaddled in the only cradle available; a rough feed trough called a manger.
No welcome, no fanfare, not even grandparents waiting around the corner outside. God’s Son is welcomed by a simple man and his young wife, scared, tired, and besides themselves with joy at the flesh and bones of God’s answered promise.
It is no mistake that the culminating promise of the ages comes to us in the form of a fragile child; God wearing skin so we could see Him and touch Him. God could have appeared to us all-powerful and all present, glorious and majestic, clothed in the splendors of heaven. But how would we then gather the confidence to approach Him? How could we identify with a God so beyond our world and understanding?
The miracle of His gift to us is both mind-blowing and heart changing. A baby, we understand. A baby, we are drawn to. A baby, invites us to come as we are, with what we have, no questions asked. A baby is as non-threatening as anything could possibly be.
Jesus set aside the glories of heaven for a time, limiting Himself, defining Himself in words that we could understand. That’s why this gospel is so marvelous, so scandalous. No other power has ever reached a hand into humanity like Christ, to meet us where we are, and grasp our lives for eternity.
No one has ever gone to such great lengths to save us, but God.
- What do you think it was like at the manger? If you could have somehow been present, how do you picture Christ’s birth?
- How does Christ’s humanity and divinity both play into your understanding of the Christmas story?
- What does Christ’s entrance into our world speak to you personally?
Pray that God would open your heart to wonder at the enormity of this gift and understand what its place in your life should be.
Jesus thank you for limiting yourself in such an amazing way to reach us. Thank you for speaking to us in words we can understand, and for loving us enough to come to our rescue.
For a complete list of devotional posts visit the Experience Christmas series page. Sign up to receive posts directly via email by completing the online subscription form and join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #ExperienceChristmasDevotional.