Today in Bethlehem
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:11 NIV
On that day in Bethlehem, there were many babies born. Expectant mothers who, after many months, finally experienced the joy in the arrival of their babe. They rejoiced in this newborn held in their arms. Elsewhere, another mother was giving birth to another child in a humble and dirty dwelling in another part of town. Despite the setting, this was no ordinary child but the Savior of the world.
It is remarkable God would choose to come to earth in the form of a helpless and defenseless babe. He could have arrived as the full-grown 30-year old man, ready to spread the message of salvation. It was necessary, though, that Jesus be wholly human, which included the entire human experience, from infant to adult and everything in-between. He hungered, was fed, burped, and had his nappy (or equivalent) changed in his infancy. Jesus learned to crawl, then walk, fell as all toddlers, and skinned his knees. He played with his siblings and did chores. He even experienced puberty; his voice cracked and then deepened. Jesus worked alongside his father Joseph in an earthly profession as a carpenter. Every emotion, every temptation we experience this day, Christ experienced.
But there was more to this wee babe than being another human; God favored him. He was sent for a particular purpose, to bring light into darkness and freedom from sin. At 12-years-old his parents found him in the temple with learned men discussing the Torah. The people that day were astounded by his questions and understanding; this was no ordinary pre-teen. Throughout his life, Jesus continued to grow not just physically but also in spiritual maturity.
Today, we give thanks for this fully God fully human babe. That child born in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago whose message of salvation has never lost its relevance.
Father God, we give thanks for that boy child born in Bethlehem. It gives us comfort in knowing that he experienced the same things we share, the same joys and hurts. We give thanks for his message of deliverance. We also give thanks for the generous gift of his human body to atone for our sins. We are thankful this fully understanding Jesus intercedes for us with you in heaven. Please help us remember the birth of this unique babe, not just today but each day. Amen.