Christmas celebrations, though a bit more subdued in the current economic downturn, are an amazing contrast to the humble birth of the Savior in Bethlehem's manger. None could really object on moral grounds for elaborate Christmas celebrations because to overestimate the significance of the birth of the most unique person in human history would be impossible.
It was not because Mary and Joseph were poor that Christ's first days in human form were spent in such humiliating accommodations. It was merely because there were no vacancies available. All accommodations were taken and no one suspected the birth of a mighty king who stepped out of time and space to visit the human race was about to be born. Had the innkeepers discerned who this child really was, there is no doubt they would have gladly given their own apartments.
At this point the mystery of the birth of Christ becomes apparent and demonstrates how wide the rift between the material and the spiritual world of which Christ preached. It was a mark of humiliation of the Lord Jesus that, though he was the king of all nations, his coming into the world was little observed and taken notice of and his birth was obscure and little regarded.
We would expect that the incarnation of the Son of God should be received with all the ceremony possible, that crowns and honors should immediately have been laid at his feet, and that the high and mighty leaders of the world should have been his humble servants; such a Messiah as this the Jews, at that point of history, expected and looked for but we see none of this.
In His earthly life, Jesus owned nothing but the clothes on His back and the consciousness of His Father's love. Yet, in truth, to HIm belonged all the immeasurable riches and glory of heaven. Those who have a materialistic mindset often commit suicide when earthly riches suddenly vanish.
Those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior never feel hopeless and poor no matter how little they may own. In the Bible, the story of Job illustrates the spiritual mindset. He said in Job 1:21, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord."
In this world no one really owns anything. God gives us everything for just a season. Those who have forgiveness of sins in Christ can truthfully say with Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:10, "as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things."
n Pastor Gene Holman of
Living Word Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers' Association.