Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "What Child Is This"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 2:6-7 – 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 room for them in the inn. (NIV)
Christmas this year will be very different from anything any of us have ever known! We're used to shopping and hearing Christmas songs as we navigate the aisles of crowded stores, but it's been different this year. Usually, we make plans to worship at church and to meet with family and friends for our special Christmas dinner and festivities. But this year is not the same. The COVID-19 virus — unseen, but dangerous — lingers about. We have to be careful, wear masks, and physically distance ourselves. Wisdom calls for keeping apart from other households.
In our home, just two of us will dine on a festive meal. Perhaps, we'll have a virtual visit during the afternoon with others who cannot be with us — such an unusual time!
It was an unusual time for Mary, heavy with child, as she travelled with her betrothed, Joseph, to Bethlehem to register for the census in his home town.
Ordinarily, Mary would have expected to have women from her own family to help her with the birthing. But this day was unusual as Mary found herself ready to bear her Child in unfamiliar surroundings — with only strangers available to help. She was in the crowded town of Bethlehem. The inn was full, and the busy innkeeper had had no space for them. They'd had to settle for a stable where the Baby was safely born in due time, wrapped in cloths, and placed in a manger. He was called Jesus.
One can imagine that if the innkeeper had known that a Saviour, Christ the Lord, could be born in his inn, he might have found room. But the innkeeper could not have known how very special this Baby was. He could not have known that the Saviour of the world was about to be born in his hometown. He could not have known that the One who brings salvation and new life to all those who receive Him was so very near at hand. It was an unusual time indeed!
But we do know who the Baby was! Today, even in the restrictions of these times, we can still worship the Lord of lords and the King of kings in our homes! No virus can hinder us from setting up a nativity scene to honour the birth of the Baby Jesus, or ever prevent us from celebrating on Christmas Day the birth of our Saviour and Lord!
Prayer: God of good gifts, we thank You for the miracle of Christmas. We thank You for sending Your Son to bring us the gift of eternal life. We know that nothing can separate us from Your love — nothing! As we celebrate Christmas, may our hearts fill with joy and praise for the gift of Jesus Christ. Amen.