And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (KJV)
Behold! In gloomy stable stall
There lies the Ruler of us all;
Where once the hungry oxen fed
The Virgin finds her Child a bed
From his Christmas Oratorio in simple yet magnificent words J. S. Bach explains for us the significance of what has just transpired outside an inn at Bethlehem. The creator of the entire universe, the Lord and ruler of us all becomes human.
Yet, how does He choose to make Himself known? Not in pomp and circumstance, not with grand fanfare and a flourish of light and sound. Instead He chooses to be placed in a manger; the feeding trough of the animals. He is born in a stable where beasts are kept. Not the place you would go looking to find the redeemer and savior of the world.
But this is the amazing thing about our Savior. He chooses to be found in those places the world would least expect. He chooses to reveal Himself in those places the world considers unimportant. He chooses to exert His power in what an unbelieving world considers weak and of little consequence.
The cruel cross of Calvary looms ahead of us. Does the death of a condemned man seem compelling enough to offer atonement? Could His life and sacrifice really save you? The surroundings and the circumstances of His birth predict His death. They are the means by which we find peace with God and absolution for our sin.
Ah! Dearest Jesus holy Child,
Make Thee a bed soft undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved
From Heaven Above to Earth I Come - The Lutheran Hymnal © 1942 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis