“Christmas celebrates the awesome and amazing fact that God is grander, wiser, and more mysterious than we could have ever imagined.” – Dan Schaeffer.
Paul Harvey was one of the most famous radio personalities in America in the 50s and 60s. Millions of loyal listeners tuned in to his “The Rest of the Story” broadcasts for their unique blend of true historical facts laced with mystery. The rest of the story filled in the details of a story that most people did not know about. It would be nice to know the rest of the story of the most influential man in history. The birth of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, is the greatest gift that God has ever given.
We know so little about Jesus’ birth. Luke summarizes it all in one sentence: “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)
It’s kind of a letdown, isn’t it? If we had been writing the story of Jesus’ life, we would have page after page, maybe several books. We would tell the rest of the story. For example, explaining why Mary was traveling with Joseph, to begin with, why no one in Bethlehem welcomed them into their home, why there was no better place for them to stay than a barn, who was with them when the baby was born, and so many more details. We probably would have drowned the story in detail. God doesn’t always give us all the details we want, but He always gives us the details we need.
There is one, clear indisputable detail in the Christmas story. Jesus comes in a humble matter. Luke talks about Augustus, the mighty Roman emperor. With a word, he could force people to travel significant distances to register for taxation. This is the most powerful man on the planet. But Luke doesn’t talk about him. Instead, he talks about a little baby, born in the most inglorious and humble circumstances. Born to a virgin, born away from home, born in a barn, laid to rest in a feed trough. The contrast is powerful and undeniable. The rest of the story would include a mighty Messiah, born in circumstances befitting a king. But no. Everyone in town turns away from His parents. They have nowhere else to go, so He is born in a barn and is laid to rest in a feeding trough.
Why? Because God will teach us through Jesus. God taught us that the way to be great in God’s eyes is to be nothing in the world’s eyes. God taught us humility’s a trait that God blesses. And He will teach it first and best through His very own Son: “though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)
He came as the least, and He came for the least. That is the rest of the story.
- What can we learn about from our Lord on the essence of true humility?
- What will you do, beginning today, to cultivate a Christlike attitude of humility?