(Luke 2:1-7) “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Christmas is glorious, right? Well, let’s think through what’s reported in these seven verses. Mary and Joseph have to travel to Bethlehem, why? Because a heathen king in Rome wants to count his subjects. They’re forced to travel, when? When Mary is 9 months pregnant. When they arrive they’re housed, where? Not even in an inn, but in a stable. The baby gets what for his first cradle? A manger, a feed trough.
Okay, I think there’s a reasonable question to ask: “Where’s the glory?” None of this sounds very glorious at all!
But that’s God’s way! God’s way ISN’T to make a display of His power, a display of His glory. Rather, God’s way is to hide His glory. Or to put it differently, God’s way is to reveal His glory through humility.
For think of what all was accomplished through this seemingly inglorious beginning. The fact that the census decree is what caused Mary and Joseph to travel? That reminds us that God rules all the world for the good of His people. The timing of it? That reminds us that God has a wonderful plan in place, and it’s wonderfully detailed. No place in the inn, born in a stable, laid in a manger? Reminds us that God has come for everyone, not just for the rich/powerful/important, and that He’s ready – and willing – to do whatever it takes to save you, to save me. In short, through the humility, you see the wonderful guiding, ruling, caring love of your God.
And you know what? That’s glorious!
Thankful to see God’s hidden glory, just like you,