The Birth of Jesus
It’s a story of repurposed people, places, and things. The birth story of the Christ-child is also a story that gives tribute to a God who works wonders in this world for His redemptive purposes.
Take Mary. A young teenage girl is probably not someone we would choose to be the Messiah’s mother. Adolescents are carefree, immature. Although Mary was undoubtedly unprepared to shoulder motherhood, she accepted the role. As a pregnant teen, she had to bear heaps of dismay, shock and sadness from her neighbors. And then, this child bore a child.
God repurposed her youthfulness.
There were those unskilled, lower class sheep-herders who spread the news of Jesus’ birth. Maybe they wrote editorials and joined the speaking circuit…maybe not. We know these commoners communicated the arrival of royalty to earth. That job was way, way above their pay-grade.
But, degrees and economic wealth don’t matter much to God.
The animal shed was transformed into a birthing center for the Christ-child. It was not even a neat, tidy Amish barn. More likely, it was cave for sheltering dirty, smelly animals. Fit for critters, not fit for a King.
God gave it a new purpose. Because that’s what God does.
“…wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger…”
Strips ripped from a big, old cloth. No Pampers, no Huggies. No special outfit to take the child home in from the hospital.
For Jesus, there was just plain cloth, ripped, shredded. Strips to shield Jesus’ back from a cold, hard manger.
It was a crude manger, probably chiseled from stone. A utilitarian container where farmers put feed for cows and horses—hay, grass, grain.
It’s not a feed trough’s job to hold a baby. That’s not what it was made for. But it became a God-made, neonatal crib for the God-man. It kept Him safe from feet and hooves, and propped Him up for the shepherds’ gaze.
Can you re-envision it?
Christmas is a story of redeemed people, places and things. It reminds us that there is hope. There is potential for every one of us. In the new year, we can find a place of purpose for the Baby-King Jesus.
Sometimes, He uses splendid resources—like angels and stars. Often, He’ll use whatever’s available—a teenage girl, shepherds, a shed, a feeding trough, cloth sheets…you and me.
That’s pretty remarkable. That’s grace. That’s redemption. That’s God.
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