By Bruce Schlenke
The reality of Christmas is really uncommon and simple. I know, we seem always to decry the commercialization of the Advent/Christmas season, even though our own commercial behavior often cries otherwise. But I also tend to react uncomfortably to the cutesy stuff – the Hallmark moments and the American warm fuzzies of the holy-day that can cloud our eyes to the realities of a Middle Eastern birth of God Himself.
The entrance of the Lord Jesus Christ was timed. God moved to take upon human flesh only when he decided to do so. Prophecy was fulfilled, but not to anyone’s timetable or interpretation or convenience except its Author.
Luke 2:6 – “While [Joseph and Mary] were there, the time came for the baby to be born.”
Luke 2:11 – “Today, in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
The conception of Jesus was miraculous. Mary was a virgin when God’s Spirit created a new life inside her. Joseph was a morally upright and kindly sensitive husband-to-be. It was a conception not according to nature or human nature.
Luke 1:34-35 – “‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’
The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and
the power of the Most High will overshadow you.’”
The birth of our Savior was humble. Images of humility abound within an unsterile city, a peasants’ journey, a stable-cave with attending livestock, and dark of night. God’s unearthly wonders ennobled earthy participants when angels played to poor shepherds and a heavenly star directed “Old-Age” astronomers.
Luke 2:7 – “[Mary] gave birth to her first-born, a son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Above all, the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of the world, was insured. God saw to it that the child birth was safe. The jostling trip to Bethlehem did no damage; germs in the delivery stable were held at bay; King Herod’s death squad was outdistanced. God’s provision at the time of Christ’s birth was sure, just as it is today.
Matthew 2:1 & 11a – “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem… On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.”
At critical times we are reminded that God’s timing is His and best, God’s actions are often miraculous, and God’s methods are most often simple and humble. In times of culturally and worldly uncertainty, we can know assuredly that God does indeed provide. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him…”
(1 Corinthians 2:9). Our God continues to be beyond conception.