“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 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 2.6-7
Luke is so matter of fact! Mary had a baby – a boy. She wrapped him up and put him in a manger , since there was no room in the inn.
The incarnation, the entry of God to earth is so down to earth. So common. The sort of thing that happens every day all across the globe. A baby that has been growing in its mother’s womb for nine months is brought into the world. The birth of Christ, in that respect was no different from any other birth. And Luke told it in a matter of fact way, because it was just that; a matter of fact.
But it wasn’t just a matter of fact. It was and is also a matter of faith. This baby was God in the flesh. This baby was worshipped by people as diverse as the less than common shepherds and the exotic Magi from the East. This baby was such a threat that His birth triggered King Herod’s paranoia. The reactions of shepherds, Magi and Herod, should have been clues that what seemed such a matter of fact, common occurrence was actually pointing to a matter of faith.
Luke would go on to record the extraordinary story of Jesus and then recount how His disciples spread news of Him all over the Roman empire.
The Son of God was born in Bethlehem. Today above all days we celebrate His birth. We worship, not the baby in the manger but the risen, ascended Son of God.
Sir John Betjeman captured it well in his poem Christmas:
And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,
A Baby in an ox’s stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?
And with faith and conviction we answer “Yes. It is gloriously true”