And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. – Luke 2:7 NASB
Here is the Son of God, the most significant human being ever in the history of the world. He is the Messiah, He is the long awaited prophet of Moses, the seed who would crush the serpent’s head. For thousands of years His coming had been prophesied and expected eagerly. Even angels longed to know the time. And here it is – the birth of the Messiah who shockingly turned out to be even more: the Son of God. And even more: God in the flesh.
And there is no place at the inn. God didn’t work this out! It wasn’t their best life now. No one would take this pregnant mother in who was about to give birth to the Messiah. My God My God why hast thou forsaken me! Have you ever, in your desperation, had no place at the inn? Have you ever felt like you were all dressed up and there was no place for you in the world? Have you ever felt like God has just tremendously let you down in your time of desperate need? You are in good company. Jesus was born into your company.
When we had our babies, we were so careful with them! We laid them just the right way in bed with us, we put them just so in their crib. And here is Jesus Christ, and when He was born, he is laid in an animal’s filthy feeding trough. Nothing could be more scandalous. It was so outrageous that it was considered a sign to the shepherds when the angels appeared to them (Luke 2:12)! If you have ever slept in a van or under a bridge or on the streets, consider that Jesus Himself was born and placed in an animal’s feeding trough. From His first day He knew obscurity and poverty and outrage. God has great empathy for all of us, and especially for those in a difficult way. He has been there.
And yet, God knew everything. When Jesus was born, myriads of angels appeared in the sky to the obscure shepherds. This strange turn of events has become one of the ultimate stories in the history of the world. We can’t imagine Christmas without Bethlehem, with no room at the inn, with Jesus the infant God being laid in a manger. But we do tend to forget that the manger was an animal feeding trough. If you ever feel like your life is starting to feel like everyone else is blessed, but you are being laid in manger, you are in good company. And you can bet that just as God did here, God knows exactly what is happening with you. God sees, and God has a way to make your story a story of blessing and astonishing grace.