And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
(Luke 2:7, NASB)
Every Christmas season I challenge the teenagers in my Sunday school class to take a twenty-eight question Christmas quiz to demonstrate that much of what they think they know about Christmas may be incorrect. There are gift cards on the line, so they take it seriously. Most miss half or more of the questions because of assumptions and a lack of careful reading. Question #7 on the quiz asks, “What did the innkeeper tell Mary and Joseph?” There are five possible answers, but virtually every teen confidently chooses, “There is no room for them in the inn.” All are surprised to learn there is no mention in the text of an “innkeeper” or anything anyone might have said to Mary and Joseph. In fact, the Greek word translated here as “inn” is a more general word referring to any place of lodging. Obviously, the young couple had no other option for shelter and resorted to what was available—traditionally a cave, possibly a stable, or maybe an attached room where animals were fed. We do know that baby Jesus was not welcomed as He deserved—as the Prince of Peace, as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as the Creator who spoke everything into existence, as the Alpha and Omega. Unfortunately, there was no Christmas hospitality for the Lord Jesus who lay in a feeding trough for His first night’s sleep…only the humble accoutrements of a barnyard.
The Savior of the world, who will sit on the throne for all eternity, arrived without human fanfare. His birth had every right to be celebrated like no other birth in history. He should have been born in a palace with the world’s dignitaries paying tribute. Yet, in humility, His arrival was underwhelming as He began to tangibly show us how to serve others.
Jesus lived His entire life as an example of how we should live, from the humility of His birth to the sacrificial love of His death. Ask the Lord to help you demonstrate His humility and love to those around you crying out in desperate need for a Savior this Christmas season.