“At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. …All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” – Luke 2:1-7.

It is a rite of passage for most kids these days. You are in such a rush to go outside that you run out the door and leave it wide open. Your father or mother will inevitably see this and call out to you, “shut the door! You weren’t born in a barn!” There is no biblical evidence to suggest this, but I wonder if Mary ever told Jesus the same thing. And then you have to wonder what Jesus’ answer would have been.

While we are not sure if Jesus was born in a barn, stable, or some type of shelter, we do know that the Savior was  born in the most humble circumstances imaginable. Who would think that an event so important to human history would take place in a stable, with God himself spending his first night in the world in a trough meant for feeding animals? In this manner, the Kings of Kings and Lord of Lords was born into the world.

Jesus lived His life like most of the people around Him – only poorer. No matter how many times I think or talk about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, I am filled with awe. For all eternity His home had been heaven, surrounded by all the glory and power that were rightfully His as God’s only Son. But He willingly left all that behind and came down to share our messy lives on this earth.

My awe increases when I read what Paul spoke of the great mystery of our faith in 1 Timothy 3:16: “Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.” Don’t you find that extraordinary? God “was revealed in a human body.”

The mystery of Christmas is how God could become man while remaining fully God. It defies human explanation, but in the perfect wisdom of God, it was the plan of the ages. Jesus was completely human and completely divine. Jesus is God, but He left the majesty of Heaven to be born among animals and live as one of us. He is a King who was raised in poverty. The birth of Jesus Christ was the most humble birth, yet it can bring you salvation and eternity in Heaven.

Discussion Questions

  1. How would you feel about putting your firstborn child in a feed trough because that was the only place there was room? 
  2. Does the birth of Jesus bring you joy? Awe? Amazement?
  3. What can we do this week to stop concentrating on ourselves and concentrate on Jesus?