In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.Luke 2:1-7
Though he (Jesus) was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Phil 2:6-8
Dear Lord Jesus, it’s Christmas Eve, the treasured day on our calendar when we celebrate the miracle and mercy of your birth. Luke took so much care to fix your birthday in the context of real history and a real world, but whether or not you were born anywhere close to December 25 is not important at all.
That you were born—that you actually came from eternity into time and space… that you lived in our place and died in our place… that you were raised for our justification and will return for our glorification—that’s what makes all the difference. Hallelujah, the gospel istrue! No spiritual myth, nice story or redemptive allegory could save us. Hallelujah, the gospel is true.
We lift our hearts and hands to you today, for you were “Born that man no more may die (including us); born to raise the sons of earth (including us); born to give them second birth” (including us). For the certainty of your birth, we worship you. For the assurance of our rebirth, we adore you.
But we also praise you for the quietness of your birth. Any other king would’ve come with great fanfare, a royal entourage and muscle-flexing pride. But you came into our world in utter weakness and with profound humility. “No room in the inn” wasn’t an insult to you. It was your choice, your plan, the way of the gospel.
For you never considered your equality with God something to be held on to or selfishly hoarded. Rather, you made yourself “nothing,” taking the very nature of a human servant. And in your obedience, you took our judgment and died our death—the “Servant of the Lord” dying for rebels from God. Astonishing… this is equally the most humbling and liberating news ever.
“Mild he lays his glory by, veiled in flesh, the Godhead see… Hail, the incarnate Deity, pleased, as man, with men to dwell—Jesus, our Emmanuel! Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
Jesus, we so look forward to the Day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that you are Lord, to the glory of God the Father. It’s going to be a loud and large day. But today, this Christmas Eve, we bow before you with quiet wonder, humble adoration and unsurpassed peace. Hallelujah, the gospel is true. Hallelujah, the gospel is true. So very Amen we pray, in your great and gracious name.