For many people the account of Jesus’ birth is practically all they know of Christianity. Yet here this world-changing event takes only a small paragraph of seven verses in Luke’s Gospel. No miracle, no fanfare… an ordinary birth like thousands before it and after it in the Judea of the time.
Yet hidden among the ordinary is an extraordinary God at work. Luke is not only revealing a fulfilled prophecy (how it happened that Jesus of Nazareth was really Jesus of Bethlehem) but showing how the God of the Bible is sovereign over the affairs of human history.
For example, through Caesar’s decree, which was likely given for the purpose of collecting taxes, Luke is showing us that emperors and governments serve God’s purposes often without even knowing it. Luke’s aim is to establish Jesus in Bethlehem and connect him to the lineage of King David. So Caesar Augustus becomes more than simply a figure by whom we can date the story. He is an instrument of God’s will.
An even greater “extraordinary within the ordinary” is found in the short mention of Jesus’ birth. In just a single verse the glorious Gospel is seen in its simplicity and power. When Mary wrapped Jesus in cloths to keep his limbs strait the humble emptying of Christ had begun.
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.Luke 2:12
In his letter to the Philippians the Apostle Paul comments about Jesus’ humble service in his birth and his death. His humble beginnings were not the accident of history but the first installment of an unfolding revelation of the Person and love of God.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!Philippians 2:6-8
As you begin this final week leading up to the celebration of Christmas take time to remember that what God did in the birth of Jesus He still does in your life today. He works in extraordinary ways within the ordinary affairs of daily life. History is His instrument to do an extraordinary work in you — today.
God and Father help me to see You more clearly in my life and circumstances today.
Look for God to show up in your circumstances today and if you sense His presence in a unique way share it with a friend in person or in a text.
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