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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“She wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.”—Luke 2:7 (HCSB)
I remember when my wife was pregnant with our first child and we began preparing his room. We didn’t want to go with the traditional light blue baby boy room that practically every Cuban family in existence uses. Instead, we wanted his room to be sleek, hip, modern, etc. So we painted it, put up decorations, and got everything ready.
But of all the things I remember doing, what I remember the most was the amount of attention, care, and paranoia that went into building the crib. Why? Because this was the place where my firstborn son’s little head would be laid each night. I wanted to ensure it was sturdy, comfortable, and wouldn’t collapse in the middle of the night.
Now, if we—an average, fresh out of college young family—were able to lay our son’s head each night in a nice crib, just imagine what kind of majestic, glorious, beautiful, and infinitely comfortable crib the King of the universe should have had. However, when the King of kings was born, He wasn’t laid in a 415-pound pure gold crib (an economical 16.4 million dollar crib) designed by Ximo Talamantes or a state-of-the-art Intellicot (valued at over $2,000). He didn’t even have a run-of-the-mill Fisher Price or Ikea crib.
Instead, the Savior was placed in a manger, a feeding trough out of which livestock would eat. Now, often this manger is depicted in a traditional nativity scene as a wooden bassinet, but the reality is that it was more like a big rectangular stone farm sink sitting on a pair of cinder blocks!
This is where the Creator of the universe and the Savior of the world slept in . . . and not just for a night. Remember, Mary and Joseph stayed in Bethlehem until Jesus was around two years old, so who knows how long He slept in the place where the cows ate out of. So, from the humblest of women (read Luke 1:26–55), to the humblest of towns, in the humblest of places (basically a barn), the Lord was born and was laid to rest each night in the humblest of “cribs.”
As surprising as this should sound, when you get to know Jesus, it’s not surprising at all. Why? Because our Savior embodies and exemplifies humility! In Philippians 2:6–8 (HCSB), we read that Jesus, “existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.”
Today is Christmas Eve. As you prepare to head out to church, to receive your relatives, to dine on delicious food, sing carols, and exchange gifts, remember what Christmas is all about. It’s not about the bells and whistles, the decorations, the lights, or the fancy presents in golden wrapping paper . . . it’s about rejoicing over the coming of our humble King, who came to save us from our hopelessness. It’s about the great love that marks this celebration—the infinite, unconditional, and boundless love of God that brought Jesus to that manger and ultimately to the cross.
I pray that, for you, this Christmas season isn’t defined by the typical holiday hustle, and as you celebrate the birth of Jesus over the next few days, you can experience the wonder and beauty of Christmas in a way you’ve never experienced before. I also pray that you’ll be able to share the heart of Jesus with the people around you, especially those who do not yet know Him.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.