In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered. 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!
The humility of Christ is what spoke to me as I reflected on Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus; humility that Professor Anna K. Schaffner explains has nothing to do with meekness or weakness, or being self-effacing or submissive, but rather is an attitude of spiritual modesty that comes from understanding our place in the larger order of things.
Jesus was not born into a family of wealth or power. He was born to an unwed mother under difficult circumstances. Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken and everyone was to go to their own town to register. Joseph went from Nazareth to Judea—a distance of a hundred miles. Mary went with him, 9-months pregnant, on foot. Well, they might have had a donkey. Think about that. The government told Joseph to travel a hundred miles to be counted. Without compensation. Without consideration of the disruption that would cause to his livelihood or family. And he went. With his pregnant wife.
And then the time came for the baby to be born. Mary and Joseph, a long way from home, tired, in a barn giving birth to their first child. Mary wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger. An angel appeared and announced the good news, a Savior had been born; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This is the Savior, born with nothing but the love of his family and God, swaddled in rags.
Jesus, our Savior. Help us to be thankful for the sufficiency of the day and know that we are a small part of your big world. Forgive us when we think we deserve more and help us show grace to others who have less. Help us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.
Contributed by Diane Warren