Why would God present the King of kings and Lord of lords to the world wrapped in dirty poverty? Mary’s pregnancy and birth were anything but royal. Can you imagine the dirt, the dust, and the smell imbedded into that less than modest stable over years of use? It must have been pretty bad if no previous arrivals to Bethlehem, also desperate for lodging, snapped it up before the parents of our Savior settled in. But humble beginnings can lead to greatness.
Leading up to this moment had been one struggle after another.
First, an out of wedlock pregnancy was the kind of thing you could get stoned for. And Mary may have except that Joseph stepped in to claim the child as his own – a declaration that came with its own set of reprisals.
Mary and Joseph may have been looked upon as Nazareth’s up and coming couple – Joseph the respected and skilled carpenter and Mary the godly, obedient fiancé. Then, out of the blue an angel appeared to Mary saying, “Congrats. You’re pregnant!” and the once promising couple were suddenly demoted to societal castoffs. Leaving town for Bethlehem was likely a blessing.
The trip of about 100 miles must have been a grueling ordeal for Mary who was about to deliver. Imagine her sitting on the bony spine of a donkey or walking across Israel’s rocky terrain with ankles that were already swollen before the trek began only to end up in a filthy barn, giving birth to the savior of all mankind.
Why did our Heavenly Father first announce the birth of His son to shepherds, one of the lowliest segments of society and likely as dirty and smelly as the stable? Oh, what a glorious announcement it must have been! And the star! No other birthday boy had a beacon of light pinpointing his location. It’s the kind of thing good selfies were made for.
The Author of Life has a habit of starting little humans in humble surroundings who later grow up to be amazing individuals.
Joseph Mohr was born an illegitimate child, his mother’s third, which was highly frowned upon in 1792. When the father learned of the pregnancy he high-tailed it out of town. Young Joseph was banned from attending school or holding a job. But still a light shined within him. Joseph loved to sing and was overheard by a Benedictine monk who took him under his wing. He learned the violin, organ, and guitar, and was later ordained a priest.
Joseph wrote the words to a new Christmas carol and asked the church organist to put it to music. He called it Silent Night, Holy Night, a hymn that’s been translated into two hundred languages and heard by millions of people.
God shepherded this young lad, a castoff of society, and turned him into a brilliant musician who made his mark on the world. History is populated with great men and women whose beginning totally concealed the potential within.
Today many of these diamonds in the rough succumb to the abortionist’s knife, never to live out the destiny set in motion by the Creator. How that must sadden our Heavenly Father.
This happens every day. Babies are born into the world wrapped in surprising packaging like disabilities or poverty but even so, God has a perfect plan for each one of them. Abortion is a tragic end to the countless blessings in store for those who would have surrounded these children.
Like Jesus, Joseph Mohr, and all the other castoffs, God has a plan for them even though we may not be able to see it – yet. But make no mistake, it’s there. It won’t be saving all mankind from our sins, but big or small, God’s plan for all of us is His divine work within us.
As we remember the humble beginnings of our Savior, remember that he fulfilled God’s purpose perfectly. Also remember God’s plan for each and every one of us, regardless of our physical capabilities.
Make no mistake, Jesus’ humble entry into the world is nothing like what we can expect with his second coming. He will be returning on clouds with angelic trumpets sounding his arrival. Maybe some of those same angels that heralded the infant’s arrival to the shepherds. Yes, his second entrance will be quite different from the lowly, dirty manger.
Just as we wait with great anticipation for Christmas, we can do the same when Jesus comes again.
President, Life Issues Institute