... to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. Lk 2:11
It is over 2000 years since Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem: at a point in history identifiable because of a census and tax levy ordered by Caesar Augustus at the time: at a location established within a few yards -- a rock cave stable beneath the Bethlehem inn; at a time known within hours because the night shift of shepherds had gone on watch.
The scene was one of Spartan simplicity: a manger; a bed of hay; a flickering oil lamp; and their bundle of clothes. No tinsel; no trappings. We do not know if there was so much as a midwife present; the record suggests Joseph was alone to help with the delivery, tie the cord and assist with the third stage.
Such was the birth of Jesus.
This was no ordinary baby. It was the one foretold over the centuries by Abraham, Moses, David and all the prophets. This was he of whom it was said,: `For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace' (Is 9:6).
His life had been foretold throughout the centuries, often in extraordinary detail, as was revealed as his life progressed. This was he who was to reveal the person of God to mankind and to redeem us to himself.
This concept should not be surprising to us who have seen a baby born, seen the perfection of fingers and toes, face, features and body. We too have seen the microscopic perfection of every cell of every variety, of a million red corpuscles; and perhaps we alone can appreciate that all this was patterned on the nucleus of one cell, one fertilised ovum.
If all this amazing care was lavished on the formation of each one of us we scarcely should be surprised that the Creator does not then leave us but shows a continuing interest in our wellbeing, our needs and our troubles.
This is the marvellous message of Christmas: that God so cared for us -- his creatures -- that he came to live among us to reveal his nature and later to die for our salvation. Our colleague Luke has described this with great attention to detail. To read his description in the third gospel, perhaps in a modern translation, could make this Christmas the most meaningful we have had.
God has reached out to man; to us.
Gracious God, we thank you that you have reached out to us in Jesus.
Grant us grace to respond to you and use us to reach out to others
with your love.
Further reading: Lk 2:1-22
Reprinted by permission from: Australian Family Physician.