For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. (Isaiah 9:6a)
We’re in a four-week series exploring the vocations of some of the characters of Christmas. This morning, we come to the principal of the nativity scene: Jesus himself.
Now, you may be thinking, Hold up a minute, Jordan, this is a series on “Christmas Vocations” and Jesus didn’t yet have a vocation lying there in the manger. That is precisely what I want you and I to focus on today.
While Jesus would one day hold vocations as a carpenter, preacher, and king, for the first years of his life he had no work. Instead, the Creator chose to be entirely dependent on the work of his creatures. Theologian J.I. Packer marveled at this truth saying that “the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child.”
Do you see the absurdity...
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. (Luke 2:16)
Since our first date 16 years ago, my wife Kara and I go to the historic Tampa Theatre every December to see It’s a Wonderful Life. And even though the film is more than 75 years old, the theater is packed every year. Why? Because the movie’s protagonist, George Bailey, encapsulates a timeless desire of the human heart to do work that matters.
If you haven’t seen the film, here’s the gist. George Bailey was raised in the small town of Bedford Falls, but he dreamed of doing “something big, something important.” But life got in the way and George remained stuck in his hometown working an obscure job he saw little purpose in. It took a literal miracle for him to see just how impactful his life and work had been.
Scripture tells us nothing about who made the manger Jesus slept in his first night on earth. But I’m willing to...
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed. (Matthew 2:1-3)
Those last words are one of the great understatements in all of Scripture. Herod was more than “disturbed” by the news of Jesus. He was apoplectic because this new “king of the Jews” represented a direct threat to his throne.
Herod knew there can only be one king in a kingdom. Either you are on the throne or someone else is. There is no in-between—no compromise whatsoever. Which is why, after hearing of this threat to his career, Herod unleashed one of the most grotesque campaigns of violence in history (see Matthew 2:16).
But Herod isn’t the only king we see in today’s passage. We’re also introduced to the Magi—the...
[Mary] brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7 KJV)
It may surprise you to learn that the infamous “innkeeper” of the nativity is never explicitly mentioned in Scripture. But clearly, someone had to deliver the news to Mary and Joseph that there was “no room for them in the inn.”
What can we learn from this nameless hotelier? At least two things.
First, God often chooses to reveal himself to us at work. Whoever this innkeeper was, they were undoubtedly swamped that first Christmas Eve as a census brought an influx of travelers to Bethlehem (see Luke 2:1-3). You can imagine the innkeeper rushing to check people in and clean out rooms, just trying to keep his or her head above water.
That’s when God literally showed up on the innkeeper’s doorstep. God didn’t meet the innkeeper in the temple but at their place of...