Day 22 – From The Bottom Up
On: November 22, 2014   |   By: admin   |   Under: Blog   |   Comments: Comments are off

“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 2:4-7]

For all the extraordinariness of God’s hand over all we have seen so far,  the royal birth was a hard slog. The idea of a heavily pregnant woman traipsing 80 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem (either on foot or donkey, but certainly not by luxury coach or inter city train which were in short supply in those days!) brings into sharp perspective the reality of Jesus’ birth. The situation was made more difficult on arrival at Bethlehem, as the place was packed with visitors, in town for the census. No Premier Inn welcome from Lenny Henry here! Mary and Joseph had to make do with a stable, in with the animals and all the muck and smell that would have entailed.

It was almost as if God wanted to pitch a point as far as could be imagined from the comfort and privilege that an earthly king would have been born into. Not surprising therefore that the human mind struggles with the whole idea of God coming to Earth in Jesus. It doesn’t make sense. Or it doesn’t, if you look at it from the top down. But Jesus was to be a servant king, One Who would wash the feet of His disciples rather than expecting them to kow-tow to Him; One Who would give his life for all, not take that of others to protect His position. This is a very different perspective – from the bottom up –  and one that we will, I am sure, come back to again and again as we travel through Luke’s gospel. The title of Bishop David Sheppard’s challenging book “Bias to the Poor” seems to be an apt commentary on the birth of Jesus. God setting out His stall from day one. The birth of Jesus was not an exclusive front page photo opportunity for Hello magazine. It was the start of the most revolutionary about turn in human values ever seen.

The time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son

Prayer:

Father God, Yours is an upside down Kingdom. Set me free from the grip of worldly values that would have me seeking status and position. Give me, instead, a deep desire to be the servant of those around me – that I might more closely resemble my Lord and Saviour, born in obscurity in a humble stable. Amen.

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