Why would the God of Glory send His Son to be born of impoverished parents, in a mean stable among filthy animals? He is the Son of God, should He not be born in a palace befitting His supreme identity? Should His birth not be hailed by princes and royal guests and feasts and celebrations in the grandest style? Should His mother not be cared for by the best physicians in the land? Perhaps that is the way we would have written the Christmas story, but that’s not how the original Author presented it.
He was born in a stable, on loan for the night. His mother had only her frightened husband, Joseph to aid her in delivery. He was greeted by cattle and sheep and all the filth that comes with them. And rather than a soft bed of luxurious silk, he was laid in the animal’s feeding trough, on a bed of scratchy, rough hay. His parents were very poor. We know this because, when the time came to present their first-born son to the Lord according to the Law, they gave the most meager offering allowed – a pair of young pigeons (Luke 2:24; see also Leviticus 12:8). Is this any way to bring a King into the world?
One of the reasons that recovery groups like A.A. work so well is that they are built on the idea of shared personal experience. That speaks volumes. Maybe God sent His Son in this way so the child born in a tiny tin hut in Haiti or on the filthy floor of a crack house in New York would identify in the most basic way with Jesus. Maybe it was so those who have nothing can find a connection with the God who wants to give them everything. Jesus’ birth is God coming to the forgotten, the lonely, the poor and the lost on common ground. He wanted to reach the “poor in spirit, the meek, the hungry and thirsty” (Matthew 5:3-10) and the forgotten.
I don’t know if you are rich or poor, living a life of advantage or hardship, sleeping in a palace or a homeless shelter. I do know that Jesus was born for you. And He died for you. The Christmas story is for you, yes, even – especially – you.