A Child is Given
“Christmas means that God has gone to infinite lengths to come near to you.” – Tim Keller
Weekly Reading: Luke 2:1-20
About nine months after the angel appeared to Mary, the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, issued a decree across the entire empire that everyone must register in his own town. Joseph, Mary’s fiancé, was from the house of David, so he had to travel to Bethlehem to complete the census. Bringing his pregnant fiancée with him, Joseph and Mary traveled the ninety miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Upon their arrival, Mary went into labor and, when she and her betrothed sought a room in the inn to no avail, she gave birth in a stable. In this time, this stable may have been a cave or a basement-esque room.
The King was born in a dirty stable, surrounded by animals. God took on flesh to dwell among His people and, instead of choosing to be born into opulent wealth, He chose humility. His birth fulfilled numerous prophecies from the Old Testament and was the King the Israelites had awaited from hundreds of years.
Throughout Scripture, God is called many names, from El Roi (“the God who sees”) to Jehovah Rapha (“the Lord who heals”). But my favorite might be what He is named in Isaiah 7:14 – Immanuel, which means “God with us.” It’s who He promises to be in the midst of the brokenness and pain on this side of heaven. He promises to be with us. He took in flesh and dwelt among us because He loves us and wants to be with us. He was born in a dirty stable because He wants to serve us. He died on the cross because He knew that the only way to reconcile us to Himself was to die the death we deserved to die.
After Jesus was born, an angel appeared to shepherds nearby, telling them to not be afraid – “for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: today in the city of David, a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11, emphasis mine). This news was for all people, both then and today. A Savior was born for us, who is the Messiah the Lord – His name is Immanuel, God with us, because He loves us and wants to be with us. No matter who you are, what you’ve done, or what your circumstances look like – this is good news of great joy for all the people.