Date: 24 Dec 2016 (Christmas Eve)
Text: Luke 2:1-7
A couple of weeks ago, Sir Mick Jagger, the 73 year old Rolling Stone, flew from London to New York, no doubt first class, to be at the bedside of his ex-girlfriend as she gave birth to his 8th child. I can’t confirm this but I suspect that she was in a top class New York hospital or nursing home and had all the necessary modern conveniences to hand. Such is life for a millionaire and the mother of his child in the 21st century.
Now rewind just over 2000 years to Bethlehem. Here we meet a poor carpenter from Nazareth and his teenage wife who is about to give birth to her first child. Because it was the time of the census, they had to travel to Bethlehem to register. However, as Bethlehem was in utter chaos when they finally arrived there, Mary & Joseph found that every Inn and guest house was full and they couldn’t find anywhere to stay other than a draughty stable surrounded by smelly and noisy animals. That doesn’t sound to me like a very auspicious place for any baby to be born let alone the Saviour of the world, and yet that is where Mary found herself when the time came for her baby to be born. No first class travel for her and Joseph, or first class accommodation! They had made their way from Nazareth to Bethlehem with Mary riding on a donkey. I can’t imagine that that was too comfortable for anyone let alone someone who was within days or even hours of giving birth, and yet that is how they travelled. Although they were a poor ordinary couple; Mary had been chosen by God to be the mother of His Son and Joseph was to be His earthly father. What a privilege and what an honour to have bestowed on them. However, that didn’t qualify them for any special treatment; they still had to travel approximately 70 miles to register for the census, no exemptions allowed!
Jesus came into the world as an ordinary baby in extraordinary circumstances and in the most unusual of maternity homes! His birth was low key as was the announcement of His arrival to the shepherds. He may have been the long awaited Messiah; the Saviour of the world, but God wanted Him to be an ordinary child and then to grow up and move among the people, sharing their lives and sharing their problems.
He still wants to do that today; Jesus still wants to share in our lives and to walk beside us. This Christmas why not invite Him along to be both with you and in you as you celebrate; after all, it is His birthday!