There is something about his humble birth in Bethlehem that captures our imagination. The reality of God taking to himself human nature and coming to us as a helpless babe is more than we can fully grasp. Yet, it is true. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us!
The night of his birth also reminds us there is little room for our Creator in his own world. Joseph sought an appropriate place for his promised wife, great with child, upon arriving in Bethlehem. However, there was no room for them in the inn.
This may seem harmless enough in as much as many were travelling to satisfy the edict of the government of that day, but John’s gospel points out that he was in the world, and the world was made by him, yet the world did not recognize him (John 1:10).
A king was born that night in Bethlehem, but there was no palace for him. Instead, just a stable where he was wrapped with swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. Unknown and unappreciated, the Light of the world had come.
Psalm 36 makes a wonderful statement that connects with this thought. For some context, read the following verses and note in particular the last verse:
5 Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.
6 Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.
7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.
9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
Indeed, “in thy light shall we see light.”
May I remind you that Jesus is the true Light that lighteth every man who comes into the world (John 1:9). Without his light we could never see light (that is, possess a right understanding of our world).
The familiar words of the Christmas hymn say it so well:
O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, The silent stars go by:
Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting Light:
The hopes and fears of all the years Are met in thee tonight.
May I say, the everlasting Light is still shining bright. In fact, he is the light that shines in darkness and the darkness cannot overpower him (Cf. John 1:5).
Thankfully, all those who know the Lord Jesus Christ are no longer in darkness. As children of light (Eph. 5:8) we know the true Light.
It is in this unique way Christmas rekindles the joy of our salvation. Our personal knowledge of Christ as Savior is the underlying reason we find such joy in the season. Indeed, the message of Christmas is one of good tidings and great joy. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!
As long as we celebrate the Savior and carry the good news of his birth, life, death, and resurrection to others the Light of the world will continue to burn bright. May the Spirit of the Lord empower us to do so as we celebrate Him at Christmas and in every season.