“And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Luke 2:6-7 ESV
There, Salvation was nestled among animal food. And, we wonder over God, this God who stepped off His throne and into human skin, laying Himself into a manger—a mere animal trough—on the first Christmas. Glory Himself was birthed into baby cheeks and tiny hands by a young, scandal-surrounded girl.
How is it that we find the King of all in such a place? How is it that the Almighty God, the great I Am, bends Himself into a world of labor pains and dirty animals?
And, it’s at times like this that I find myself both awestruck and inexpressibly moved by the story of Jesus’ birth. Of course, it’s a familiar one, and most of us can see the story line from miles away.
But what consistently moves my heart? It’s the common. Each year, I find myself analyzing the details of the miraculous story of the first Christmas, trying to imagine what it must have felt like to witness the great and awesome God stepping into the everydays of some simple folks.
Because, it’s natural for us to attach the concepts of splendor and power and mind-blowing radiance to our God. We exalt Him. We praise Him for the attributes we can hardly understand—His sovereign ways, His unsearchable wisdom, His unfailing love. He stands far above us, and we marvel, speechless at His majesty.
Therefore, it is not without near bewilderment that we hold the magnificence of the King of kings in one hand, and the everyday, common details of the true story of Christmas in the other. And then, we bring the two concepts together, to mix in perfect, mind-blowing union.
Suddenly, we see the Nativity, the birth of Jesus Christ, with fresh eyes—a young girl, average in every way, from Nazareth; an unsuspecting young man about to be married. A dusty manger. A group of shepherds caring for their herd, as they have every other long night.
How could they have known? And, friends, how could we know? How could we know at what point that routine aspect of our lives is actually showing up on God’s holy radar, just about at the point of a great intersection of mundane and miraculous?
Clearly, He is a God who magnifies the mundane in order to accomplish His miracles. This is the God we exalt. This is the barn-born baby known as Jesus, who embraced humble obedience in the common life in order to accomplish extraordinary glory, eternally.
Maybe that can be true of me. Maybe that can be true of you.
This Christmas, may we peer more intently into that average world tucked into the familiar story of Jesus’ birth. Maybe we’ll even see a reflection of our own average world, but with new expectancy and hope.
Let’s anticipate the coming birth of our glorious Savior. And, let’s remember, though He be far above us, the miracle of Christmas is that He has come near to us, into our world, into our routine life.
He is both Majesty and a God who presses into our days, our everydays. And, He whispers Life into those dusty, disgraced, and dull places—and we are never, ever the same.