Joseph kicked a rock with his dust-covered sandal.
He and Mary were slowly plodding down the long road from Nazareth to Bethlehem. He glanced at his pregnant wife and saw her eyes squeeze tight in pain as she grasped her belly. It was swollen big like a balloon, ready to pop. Joseph sighed. Why did Caesar pick now to count everyone? Why do we needto be in Bethlehem now? The baby could come any day. Joseph closed his eyes, trying to imagine the perfect spot for this baby to be born. Maybe a family member in Bethlehem has an extra room? Maybe there’s a nice inn that will have a comfortable bed and hot water? This is God’s own Son! Surely God wants Him to be born somewhere special. Joseph was right. God did have a special place in mind, but it was very different than what Joseph imagined.
A few days later, a wrinkly, wriggly Jesus was born into the world. Of all the kings who had lived, He was the greatest. Of all the people who had walked the earth, He alone was perfect, but He would start His life in the strangest way you or I could imagine. His birth didn’t take place in a palace, or even a house, but in an old, stinky stable filled with baas and moos and cockadoodledoos. Jesus’s little body wasn’t wrapped up with soft satin blankets but with simple strips of cloth swaddled tightly around him. He wasn’t laid in a crib of gold that sparkled with bright gems but in a well-worn manger filled with bits of straw and hay that the animals hadn’t eaten during dinner. Jesus had left the highest throne in the universe to be born into the lowliest of all places.
We often think that to get to God, we have to go up to Him. We think that we have to work hard, obey our mommies and daddies perfectly, and follow every rule without messing up. Then maybe, if we get everything right, we can climb and claw our way up to Him. But God wanted to show us that for us to come to Him, it was never about us going up to Him. It was about Him coming down to us. The only way we could be with Jesus forever was if He came and got us.
We couldn’t keep all the rules. Jesus had to come down and keep them for us.
Just think how tough this had to be for Jesus! Everything had been so perfect in Heaven. Jesus sat right next to His Daddy on a throne that ruled over every other throne. He had all the riches and crowns and majesty that He deserved as King of all kings. Coming down meant that He would have to leave all of it, give it all up for us, all so that He could come get us. And He did! In the smallest and weakest of ways, He came down to us because He knew we could never make it up to Him.
Think about your home, your family, and the things that are special to you. How hard would it be for you to give those up? How do you think it felt for Jesus to give up things that were special to Him to become a human and live in our world?
Why is it important that Jesus, who is God, became a human?
This Advent devotional resource was produced by The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, TX. The original resource can be found here.