Our passage of Luke this week is remarkable by how purely unremarkable it is. We have just witnessed such wondrous announcements of the coming king - to Mary, Elizabeth, and Zechariah. The long-awaited Son of God is becoming flesh, and will dwell amongst the people. It would follow then, that we would have expected this king to be born as royalty; on a silver bed, with fine linen sheets, and hundreds of midwives and wet nurses attending him.
Instead, we find this young, unmarried couple far from home, taking this long, terrible journey. Once they get to the town, they can’t even find a place to stay, so Mary delivers her son in the place where the animals sleep and places him in a feeding trough. These are the circumstances, messy and unrefined, that this great, long-foretold King is born into.
This story tells us so much about this king, what he has come to do, and the kind of king he will be. He is seen, even in his birth story, as a king that enters into our to our ordinary, messy lives, and brings hope to our ordinary, messy world. He identifies with the broken, suffering places of our lives. This king, born in a stable, is truly a king that comes to serve instead of be served.
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1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 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. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 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.