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. - Luke 2:1-7 (NIV)
Such a short, quick story of the birth of such an important baby. For as much fanfare and preparation as we give the anniversary of this story today, this version seems almost disappointing. In the process of taking a census, it was time for Mary to give birth. So she did. Wow! Riveting stuff!! Clearly there is much more to this, regardless of how the actual birth is depicted in the bible. There later was a little more fanfare by way of the angels coming to the shepherds and the Wise Men making their way to see this spectacle, but the birth itself as it's stated here seems a little underwhelming. Perhaps that is because the birth, while a key chapter in the story of Jesus, is a far cry from the climactic ending.
We need to look at the birth of Jesus with Easter in mind. Jesus was born destined to die on the cross for our sins. In doing both (being born and dying), he was and still is Immanuel "God with us". Jesus came to all so we could be saved and have the opportunity to live for eternity with God. We just have to accept him with a humble heart. This Christmas, look toward Easter for the true reason for Jesus' birth and ponder the opportunity God presents to us. As you open all your other gifts this Christmas, have you accepted and opened the one God has given you? Perhaps you've just taken the box off... Perhaps you've torn open a corner to take a peak... Go ahead and grab it FIRST and rip into it!! It's just your size and was meant just for you!
Such a tiny offering,
compared to Calvary...