In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. 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: 1– 7 NIV)
Jesus, it’s the beloved day we call Christmas Eve, the date we’ve set aside to remember and reflect upon your nativity. Luke took so much care to fix your birthday in the context of real history and a real world, but whether or not you were born anywhere close to December 25 is not important at all. That you were born— that you actually came from eternity into time and space— that’s what’s important, Jesus.
I sing to you today with all the passion and delight I can possibly muster, “Born that man (including me) no more may die, born to raise the sons of earth (including me), born to give them (including me) second birth.” For the certainty of your birth, and therefore my rebirth, I give you great praise.
But for all the care Luke took to detail the circumstances of your birthday, it’s the quietness of your birth that astounds me. Any other king would’ve come with great fanfare and a royal entourage. But you came into our world in utter stillness and profound humility. “No room in the inn” wasn’t an insult to you. It was your choice, your plan, the way of the gospel.
We marvel, we wonder, we are in awe of you, Jesus. For you didn’t consider your equality with God something to be selfishly hoarded and held on to. Rather, you made yourself “nothing,” taking the very nature of a human servant— the “Servant of the Lord” of Isaiah’s vision and songs— and in your humility, you died our death on the cross.
“Mild he lays his glory by . . . Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see . . . Hail, the incarnate Deity, pleased, as man, with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel! . . . Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
I so look forward to the day, Jesus, when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that you are Lord, to the glory of God the Father. It’s going to be a loud and large day. But this Christmas Eve I say to myself, “Be still, my soul . . . behold calm glory, savor mild mercy, worship your newborn King with quiet certainty.”
I pray in Jesus’ great and gracious name. Amen.
Smith, Scotty (2011-09-01). Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith (p. 373). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.