This short essay is taken from the book, The Incarnation and the Exultation: An Advent Devotional. This devotional reflects on the scriptures of incarnation and exaltation in order to take you on a journey of thoughtful self-reflection. It is meant to draw you more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s coming into the world to help you walk your own inner path toward the season of Christmas. As you celebrate the coming of Christ into your lives during Advent and spend time reflecting on the readings in this devotional, may the light and love that entered our world lead you to the cross in wonder and thanksgiving. May you find joy and discover strength as you walk this wondrous journey to Bethlehem, always holding within your heart the image of the Hill of Calvary and the hope of the Age to come when Christ will return to call his people home!
Key Verse of Incarnation and Exaltation: 2:6-7 – And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
In the divine drama of the birth of Jesus, Luke showed us how little control the principal players had as the Father unfolded his divine plan. God led the Roman emperor to issue a decree that a census should be taken of all the Roman world in order to draw Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. They came to the city of David to fulfill the prophecy about Jesus’ royal lineage. Joseph and Mary sought shelter in a stable because there was no room in the inn.
Jesus was not born in a palace or even a major city. He was born to parents with no status, no wealth, and no influence. Mary gave birth to Jesus in what was probably a dark cave, where a manger became a cradle for the Son of God after he was born. Why would the Father do this? The answer is simple. The birth of Jesus was significant not because of where, when, or how he was born – at least from a human perspective. But it was significant from a heavenly perspective.
Jesus did not need royal position, earthly power, or abundant possessions to live out the mission for which he was sent. He came in poverty that we might be made rich in faith. He came in obscurity that we might know him fully in our longing hearts. He came without position, that we might give him the highest place in our lives. He and he alone was the One – the only One – who could save the world!
Will you make your heart a manger for the Messiah? Will you put Jesus on the throne of your life so that he may be your Lord and Savior, the ruler of all you are? This Christmas, let him come to rest in your heart so that God’s will may unfold in your life according to his great love.
Prayer: Great God, in poverty your Son entered this world as a helpless baby, so that we could experience the riches of the kingdom. May the beauty of the incarnation spill over into my life and lead me to empty my heart of all but you…Amen!
Hope for man, our sinless Savior,
Infant child at mother's breast,
Sleeping still in straw-filled manger,
Holy Lord and Sabbath's rest.