“O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining…It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth…Long lay the world in sin and error pining…till He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth…A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices…For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn…”
We picture the birth of Jesus as a Thomas Kinkade painting: stars shining, angels singing, wise men bringing gifts, the cattle gently lowing as they hum the newborn Savior off to sleep. As we imagine this pastoral scene we see Mary smiling and Joseph beaming. We don’t see a mother who just gave birth or a father who had a lot on his mind after a very difficult journey.
But this was not the scene. Jesus was not born into the technological marvels that are our hospitals today. Nor was He born into the civilized society of today. He was born into a completely different time. For example, Jesus was born into a day and age where the rulers of the land, could command the murder of every baby under the age of two. Biblical times could be very desperate. Jesus was not born of wealth and greatness, strength, and supremacy. He did not arrive like we would expect a ruler and hero would. He came to earth as a newborn, fragile, and indefensible. His first home, a stable – not a palace, or even a temple. But a small building full of smelly animals.
This baby who is called, “Wonderful, Teacher, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6), was born to an unknown man. This baby who was God in the flesh was born to a peasant girl in a stable. Think about that for a second: if God injected himself into the world in the most humble circumstances, then there is indeed nowhere and no one where His presence, love, grace, and holiness cannot be housed and hope found. Hope in the form of a Savior born on a holy night so many years ago.
Luke included in his narrative the miraculous and mysterious events surrounding the mundane, utterly normal, yet all-together glorious birth of Jesus Luke 2:8-14. Little did Luke know that these words, written to a first-century audience, would still bring hope and awaken faith over two thousand years later. After all the centuries, the incarnation brings comfort to this weary world.
You may be hunting for hope this holiday season. The good news is you always have hope in Jesus. The thrill of hope that the world felt when Jesus finally arrived thousands of years ago in the manger in Bethlehem is still the hope that you and I have today. And for that, we should be grateful for that holy night in Bethlehem.