And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there
was no place for them in the inn.
~Doctor Luke, Luke 2:7
The significant promise of God was about to be fulfilled in a very insignificant place through a very insignificant family. Bethlehem was not big. There was not much choice in lodging while visiting. Mary and Joseph found no room in which to stay. No family would take them in and no public inn had room. They were about to be part of God’s most extravagant action since the creation of the world, but they couldn’t be in a more humble place.
The modest surroundings of the birth are ironic in view of the birth’s significance. The birth of Christ is the foundation of the new creation. It is key to God’s plan to “make all things new.” The one who would provide a way into the heavenly throne room of grace was born in the most humble conditions.
The King of kings and Lord most high humbled himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. This was the brilliance of God’s plan, He did not rescue us from afar, instead He became flesh and dwelt among us. He did not just tell us how to live, he showed us how to live. He humbled himself to rescue us.
Our hope for you today is that you realize the most extravagant gift was given in humility, and that you will be humble as Christ was humble.
The hymn “Away in a Manger” forms the backdrop of today’s podcast. The song is attributed to the great reformer Martin Luther. As you read the words of this beautiful hymn we encourage you to contrast them with the modern extravagance which accompanies the celebration of Christ’s humble birth.
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head;
the stars in the heavens looked down where He lay,
the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,
but little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
and stay by my side until morning is nigh.
Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask Thee to stay
close by me forever and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
and fit us for heaven, to live with Thee there.
With much love, The Downings