While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first born, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:6,7 (NIV)
In remote communities, such as the one I grew up in on the far northwest corner of the Olympic Peninsula, hospitals are often far away. On more than one occasion mothers have given birth on the way to the hospital in the back seat of cars and in their homes. Some of the people I grew up with could actually point to a place along the long winding roadside where someone from their family had been born.
Sometimes life is full of surprises like that. I am sure Mary and Joseph were taken by surprise by their circumstances on the day Jesus was born. They knew of course that she could give birth along the road to Bethlehem, but childbirth is often nerve-wracking. We don’t know of course what their anxiety was like in anticipating Jesus’ birth or in trying to find a place for Jesus to be born.
It reminds me that even from His birth Jesus, the Son of God and our Savior, experienced life as we do. The unexpected and the inconvenient were present for Him as they are for us. Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection illustrates for us that in the economy of God’s Kingdom everything that occurs has a purpose. Even the unexpected and what seems inconvenient are used by God for a good purpose.
Therefore, when we think of Jesus’ birth, we not only rejoice at what it means for all people everywhere – that is the Savior has been born. We also marvel and praise God that His humble entry into the world declares to us that He is truly a God who knows, feels, and understands how we experience life.
Let us especially rejoice in His love and take comfort in knowing that Jesus shares in our humanity “so that by His death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14,15)
Dear Father, thank you for sending Jesus to be our Savior. By your grace, strengthen our faith that we might serve you faithfully in all of our life’s circumstances. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Rev. Dr. Don Johnson (Makah), Hudson, Wisconsin