She came into the world two days ago. A beautiful baby girl weighing in at 7 lbs. 3 oz. Ten tiny fingers, ten little toes, sweet delicate features all pointing to a marvelous Creator. We got the first picture of our niece only hours after she was born. Her eyes were closed as she slept peacefully, oblivious to the excitement her arrival had created. Swaddled in clean blankets, the hospital staff gave careful attention to every detail.
Another baby entered the world many years ago. Extended family members weren't there to usher in the birth of this boy. No hospital staff attended to the baby's needs. In fact, shocking conditions accompanied the birth of this little one. His birthplace was a stable. His bed, an animal's feeding trough. His mother Mary, and his earthly father, Joseph, were far from home. They had traveled a long distance to pay their taxes in the city of Bethlehem.
"And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn," (Luke 2:6-7; KJV).
Why would the King of the universe come to the earth in such a humble fashion? Imagine baby Jesus wrapped in rags that were typically used to prepare a body for burial. Yet each detail had significance, pointing to the mission this God/man would fulfill. He came to earth to become the Savior of all mankind. He would live a sinless life. Giving His life as a sacrifice to pay the sin debt of the entire world.
All those years ago, kings and priests didn't welcome his birth. But lowly shepherds knew the importance of Jesus' birth and were presented with the opportunity to worship the newborn King.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. (Luke 2:8-16).
As Christmas approaches, what will be the focus of your celebration? Getting gifts? Or the birthday of the King - Jesus Christ? Let the inspiring example of the shepherds draw you to the Savior's side in true worship! A very Merry Christmas from my house to yours!
Prayer: Blessed Heavenly Father, thank You so much for the precious gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful He came to earth, lived a sinless life, and died on the cross - shedding His blood, that through Him, I might be saved. Help me to worship You in spirit and in truth this Christmas season. I love You Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.