Luke 2:1-7 No Vacancy

A humble birth for our King

A humble birth for our King

Today we are going to look at the greatest birth story in history; that of the baby Jesus. As this momentous occasion unfolds, the rest of the world is clueless. They won’t remain that way for long though.

I love the song Silent Night. It evokes images of peace and serenity surrounding our Savior’s birth. “All is calm, all is bright.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem when it was teeming with activity. EVERY inn is full to capacity and beyond. I wouldn’t be surprised to find people sleeping in the town square. This would have been a safe place for them. Every pen is full with the animals brought by the travelers. The noise of the people talking and bartering would have put the noises of Grand Central Station’s noise to shame.

I’m pretty sure Mary wasn’t the only pregnant woman to arrive in town that day. But she was the only one carrying the Savior of the world. God didn’t want His Son coming into this world attended by the best physicians or midwives money could buy. He wanted this tender time alone with the little family He chose for His Son. This was a private affair.

I say this for a reason. Let’s just look at the things God had to get to line up just right to pull this off. First, He had to get Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. Isaiah prophesied that our Savior would be born in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth. Second, He also had to either have them relocate for her whole pregnancy, or get her there in time for her delivery. He chose the just in time option.

So how did He go about getting them there? Well it wasn’t through a job offer for Joseph. It was instead through something that they couldn’t refuse. God turned the entire nation of Israel on its ear to get Mary to where she needed to be. His third step was to place in the heart of Caesar Augustus to call for a census. This meant that ANYONE not residing in their ancestral hometown had to travel there. The roads must have been packed with travelers going and coming to different towns.

Getting them there by means of a census was complicated, but the hand of God didn’t stop there. He had to orchestrate the timing of their arrival with the EXACT DAY of Mary’s delivery. I have been pregnant five times and delivered babies four of those times. I can tell you with absolute certainty that picking the exact date of delivery is no easy thing, short of a cesarean. Mary has been traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem for days. She is nine months pregnant. We don’t know if she came on the back of an animal or walked with Joseph, but I can guarantee you that the trip was not easy. They probably spent a week on the road. Any one of those days could have induced labor, but they didn’t. That wasn’t part of God’s plan.

So having brought Mary and Joseph to just the right town at just the right moment, do you think it would have been beyond His ability to have reserved them a room at one of the inns? No? Me neither. So instead He reserved them a different room. This room could have been taken too by another weary traveler, but it wasn’t. God reserved for Mary a stable, probably a small cave like structure cut out of a hillside. Here she would find privacy for Jesus’ birth as well as a place for her upcoming visitors. Everything about our new King was to be humble and lowly. What could be more humble than to have your first bed be the feeding trough of animals? This is how God CHOSE to introduce Jesus into our world. It was not an accident that the inns were full. It wasn’t by chance that this stable was available. It wasn’t luck that they made it to Bethlehem just in time for Mary to deliver her baby. It was the hand painted picture of God.

Father God, I LOVE seeing Your fingers all over Your stories. I never really looked at exactly what You did to orchestrate this precise setting before. This wasn’t the first time You reached down in history and painted the exact picture You wanted. It wasn’t the last either.

I also know that not EVERYTHING that happens here on earth is orchestrated by You, but You are also not caught off guard by it. The earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are known by You before they even begin. This doesn’t negate Your power, Your love or Your goodness for not stopping them. They are a direct result of our sinful world. WE let sin into the world in the beginning and have been suffering the consequences ever since. You are able to help us learn from You when dealing with the aftermath of these “acts of God.” Even here Your hand can be seen.

Thank You for showing me Your hand in my own life. I think my most memorable one was when You provided financial assistance for housing at JUST the right time. You met me at my point of need when I stepped out in faith on the path I felt You leading me to. I almost missed Your miracle by trying to rely on my own strength to take care of myself. Thank You in THAT too! For getting my attention. For placing in my heart the need to say, “Thanks but no thanks.” If I hadn’t made that phone call I would have missed the blessing You brought me. Thank You again and always for ALWAYS having Your eyes on me and Your hands in my life.

I wonder how grateful Mary was for that stable. Did she even complain about making the trip to Bethlehem? Or did she trust You fully to take her where she needed to be when she needed to be there? Mary did you know?

I want to share my favorite Christmas story with you. It is “Nester the Long Eared Christmas Donkey.” I know it is just a cartoon and includes non-biblical characters (i.e. Santa and his elves), but it speaks to me (through the little donkey) of just how God reaches down and puts His fingerprints on our story.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply