Jesus came in humility. Philippians 2:5-8 establishes that without any question. He came, not just to die a humble death for us, but His birth took place in the most humble of all places: a manger. His birth was as humility-filled as was His death.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Hardly the center of the world. Hardly the center of anything. Existing as it did in the shadow of the “holy” city, Jerusalem; travelers would hardly give a thought to going to Bethlehem for… well, anything.
The census under Caesar Augustus changed things on that first Christmas night. It forced people to return to the city of their birth, and obviously a number of those were born in Bethlehem… the city where King David had been born hundreds of years prior.
And because of that overpopulation, no room was left for anyone to be housed in a hamlet that seldom had a visitor. (Think hosting the Super Bowl in Waldo, Florida). Mary and Joseph, though in extreme circumstances due to the nearness of Mary’s delivery date, could find no place to stay.
So Jesus was born in a manger. The manger in Biblical times was, as Miles McPherson called it, the “nasty” room in the house. It was a part of a Middle Eastern home where animals would live and sleep at night. It was smelly. It was awful. It was the dirtiest part of the house.
The place where no one saw… and no one went. Except Jesus.
But that’s the room that Jesus came to deal with. We all have our “stinky” rooms… those places where most never see and where we invite no one in. Our “manger” contains the collections of actions and the results of bad decisions and the stuff we hope no one ever finds out about us.
Let’s not romanticize the manger. We were never intended to. Even at His birth, Jesus came to live in… and to transform… the worst of our circumstances; the most shameful of our actions… and the darkest of our secrets.
Invite Him back in sometime. Open the door to that place where sin sometimes hides and doesn’t want to be discovered. He already knows the way.
And this year at Christmas, let Him clean up YOUR manger!
FOR MEDITATION: And she brought forth her firstborn child, and laid Him in a manger…. Luke 2:7
FOR REFLECTION: Is it time for you to open the door for the Savior to come in… to every room of your life?