Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Away In A Manger"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 guest room available for them. (NIV 2011)
For most of us, the day of our birth is the most significant day of our entire lives. Though we have no cognitive awareness or recollection of this momentous occasion, it is the day when we made our appearance on planet earth. At that moment, we drew our first breath and first saw the light of day.
Though the date of our birth is a once-in-a-lifetime event, we celebrate the anniversary of this event every year. We rightly celebrate our birthday as a special and personally memorable occasion. Though we may randomly share our birthdate with someone else, our own birthday is an annual milestone that sets us apart and marks a moment that briefly belongs to us alone.
There is one birthday that was like no other. When Jesus was born in the humble little town of Bethlehem, time seemed to stand still. Angels rejoiced at this amazing miracle — God coming to earth in the form of a human baby. Shepherds worshipped Him, and wise men came to pay homage. Even King Herod was alerted to the birth of a newborn king, and he did everything possible to thwart the threat to his power.
All of history ever since has been marked by this unique birth. The date of Jesus' birth has become the central marker in our calendar, which is divided into BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini — "the year of the Lord"). Though these designations are frequently being given as BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (Common Era) in order to be religiously neutral, the cornerstone of our whole system of time is, nonetheless, the birth of Christ. His birth has aptly been termed "the hinge of history". It could also be viewed as the axle around which the wheel of history revolves.
All the world is given the invitation to celebrate His birth by placing faith in Him as the giver of life. Those of us who have accepted this birthday invitation have much reason to rejoice in the truth that He came as a Baby to ultimately live and die for us. What a privilege we have, to celebrate today this most significant birthday of all time — that of the King of kings.
Have you accepted this birthday invitation — from the One Who is both the Gift and the Giver of life — that is extended to all? We can celebrate the once-for-all-time event of His unique birth in Bethlehem, but we can also remember this occasion each year as we celebrate Christmas. How can we appropriately rejoice and celebrate Jesus' birth on this, His holy day?
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, You gave us the greatest gift of all when You sent Your Son Jesus as our redeemer. May we rejoice as we commemorate His birthday today. Amen.