In the Fulness of Time… Christ’s Nativity.
Galatians 4:4 , “But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law…”.A virgin, nine months pregnant, balancing on the back of a donkey for a hundred miles, this was the way that God sent forth His Son. It was later in the day when they arrived in Bethlehem and they soon found out was that there was no place for them. Relatives they’d hoped to stay with had no room, the common areas of the inns and the town square were full. The only refuge was a pen for livestock, a musty cave on the edge of the hill. They’d have to take shelter here for the night and hope for something better in the morning. This was no mistake, God perfectly intended that the Nativity of Christ would have these circumstances surrounding it. The Christmas carols ask the question for us, “Why lies He here in such mean estate where ox and ass are feeding?” Let’s try to answer that question.
- Being in Bethlehem established Joseph, Mary and now Jesus, in the census, as descendants of the city and line of King David. The entire Roman world moved at the demand of Caesar’s census. God moved hundreds of thousands in order to place Joseph and Mary and the Christ in Bethlehem.
- His birth in the stable was a picture of the depths of the incarnation. The incarnation of Almighty God into humanity was the rough equivalent of a child being born in a stable.
- His birth in a manger underlined that this world was not His home, the inn and its stables were for those who were passing through. This place was not His home.
- His birth in this rough shelter made Him accessible to those who were about to find Him. Shepherds, the lowest of all classes, could come to Him.
- His birth in such a place as this would be safe, there is anonymity in poverty. He had been born to bring an end to sin, to destroy the devil and His works. The manger, the lowliest of places in the most royal of cities, was the perfect place for the fragile Christ child to come.
- His birth in such a place was a mirror of the same humility that would mark His death. The cradle reflects the cross, its rough wood on His back held Him up for all to see.
The constant wonder of the Christ bound up by swaddling cloths, laying on a bed of straw, is how could God risk such an enormous and eternal plan of salvation on such vulnerable circumstances. It hinged on faith, obedience and His sovereign will to direct people to places they wouldn’t normally have gone. Such is the way that God still works with each of us, to take you and I to places that we would not normally go… forgiveness, trust, love. In the fulness of time God sent forth His Son… for you. Come to Christ, believe in Who He said He is, ask and receive the love and forgiveness He extends, become what He intends, let Him direct you.