Recently I’ve noticed how merchants are beginning to make room for assorted promotions in preparation for the Christmas Season. This transition has brought to mind the story of Jesus’ birth as recorded in Luke 2:1-20.
Luke’s account of that fateful evening has always resonated with me. The Savior of the world was born, which caused a vast number of the heavenly host to declare: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men [and women]!” (Luke 2:14 NKJV)
The story also tells of two weary travelers: Joseph and Mary who are on their way to Bethlehem to register for the Roman census. But when they arrive, Mary has to give birth to her son in an animal stable, wrapping him in cloths, and placing him in an animal feeding trough or manger because of the lack of accommodations—even for this expectant mother.
Usually when dignitaries travel with an entourage, suitable accommodations are provided for them even today. Yet there was no room for the dignitary: Jesus Christ or for His entourage: Joseph and Mary.
Certainly crowded conditions in Bethlehem posed a housing problem for them that evening. Yet, having no room whatsoever reflects our age-old obsession with becoming “significant” where everyone wants the bigger, newer and the best for themselves.
Today, this obsession can lead us to adopt a standard where worldly thoughts combined with the whims and pretense of celebrated personalities become more authoritative than the Bible…even in Christendom.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 teaches that not many wise, mighty or noble of mainstream society will welcome our Lord. Instead God chooses the foolish, weak, lowborn, and nothing to refute the wise, mighty, insignificant, and the things that are. In this way, no one can boast because the Lord is at the center of all boasting.
The Lord uses celebrated persons to further His cause. These people use their resources and influence to lead people to Christ and demonstrate a vibrant, sincere faith in the Lord in the process. It was a very wealthy and influential Joseph of Arimathea who provided his personal burial tomb for Jesus; an empty tomb where we celebrate His resurrection nearly two-thousand years later.
On the other hand, it would be total negligence not to recognize the silent army of Christians who continue to serve the Lord faithfully in places deemed small, worthless or insignificant by the world. These people are significant because the Lord uses them to help transform lives—often without fanfare.
For all those unsung Christian heroes and heroines who continue to labor without recognition, be of good cheer. There was no room for our Lord and Savior either. Galatians 6:9 (NLT) tells us:
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
Very soon the Lord will return to take us home and welcome us with a hearty: “Well done!”