This Christmas devotional has been written to help you draw closer to Jesus this festive season. As you read through this devotional, allow these words to lead you to a deeper revelation of the birth of Jesus and a fresh appreciation for the meaning of Christmas.
An Undignified Arrival
Take a moment to imagine a member of the British royal family or a high-profile celebrity arriving in your town. How would you expect them to arrive? You would probably be waiting to see an expensive car, an entourage of guests, and lots of security around them. They would stay in the best hotel in town, eat at the top restaurants, and receive full VIP treatment during their stay.
Yet, in the Gospel of Luke, we read the story of a royal king arriving on earth in a somewhat different fashion. In Luke 2 we read that Jesus, the true King of Kings, arrived on earth not in luxury nor in splendour. He arrived not in the form of a royal king nor as a mighty warrior. He arrived as the most vulnerable being: a baby. And He arrived in inconspicuous form, being born in a dirty room surrounded by animals. His parents, Mary and Joseph, couldn’t even find a bed for Him, so they had to lay Him in an animal feeding trough. It’s starkly different to what we might expect for the arrival of the Savior of the world.
Jesus’ birth on that first Christmas day would have been an undignified arrival for any human being. But it was particularly undignified for Jesus, who was and is the Messiah. He is the King of Kings, God himself in human form.
A Visit From The Outcasts
There was a huge amount of anticipation surrounding Jesus’ arrival on earth. In the lead up to His birth, the people of God became expectant of the Messiah who was to come, for He would be the one to save the Jewish people and lead them out of Roman occupation. In fact, the Old Testament records many prophecies and predictions about this coming Messiah.
It would be safe to assume that Jesus’ birth would be announced to the world in a dignified and public way. But Jesus’ arrival on earth was announced not to the religious elite nor to the wealthy and powerful. Jesus’ arrival was first announced to the shepherds. At the time, these shepherds were the lowest of the low in society. They were outcasts, dirty, often uneducated. The people who would least expect to receive the news of the Messiah’s birth.
Perhaps God chose to announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds because they were the ones who would truly understand that they couldn’t earn their way to Christ. They would never have believed that they were worthy of meeting with the Savior of the world. For Jesus came not to those who have it all together but to those who know they don’t. He came to those who know they need a Savior.
An Upside-Down Kingdom
So, what can this Christmas story teach us about who God is? What do we learn from the fact that Jesus was born into a dirty room surrounded by animals? And what do we learn from the fact that Jesus’ arrival was first announced to the outcasts of the day?
Through the birth of Jesus, God shows us that His kingdom is an upside-down kingdom. The world’s definitions of success, worth, and stature are meaningless in God’s eyes. Jesus’ arrival turned the world’s ideas and customs on their head and ushered in a new kingdom that places value on all people.
God Walking With Us
Jesus arrived as a servant; a helpless baby in a dirty room. He arrived in an inconspicuous and undignified way, to show that our God is one who understands our humanity, associates with our brokenness and is willing to walk with us through the mess of life. And Jesus arrived first to the shepherds, not the elite, to show us that His good news is for everyone.
This Christmas, let’s try to become humble like the shepherds and walk slowly with Jesus. Let’s remember that He stepped into the brokenness of our humanity to draw us back to Him. In this way we can recognize that our earthly crowns, our wisdom and our positions are meaningless before God. We’ve missed the true meaning of Christmas if we think we can qualify or earn the gift of Jesus’ forgiveness. We need to stoop low, to become humble, to know that Jesus is the whole point and the whole answer.
An Upside Down Christmas Devotional For Our Times
As you will likely know from the nativity story, we read in Luke 2 that the wise men did, eventually, get to see Jesus. But they arrived after the shepherds. In a subtle way, we see God’s upside-down kingdom displayed. For while we are all invited to meet with Jesus, in God’s kingdom the last will come first and the first will come last.
This does not mean that we are to despise or be ashamed of our worldly success. But we must recognise that our worth and our identity is solely in Christ. We must be willing to offer that success to God and remember that God’s gift of forgiveness and reconciliation is a gift that we could never earn.
This Christmas, be encouraged and reminded that your identity is found solely in your relationship with God. Through Jesus you are a child of God, beloved, saved and eternally found in His arms.
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