After Caesar Augustus decreed that a census should be taken, Mary and Joseph take a four-day journey to Bethlehem to register.
But it wasn’t only a time to register, it was also the time for Jesus, God in the flesh, the Messiah who brings hope, peace and salvation to all of mankind to be born.
The world has looked to science in hope of a vaccine to fight against Covid-19, but Jesus came to give us hope to deal with our greatest need.
Mankind’s greatest need isn’t food, drink and clothing, our greatest need isn’t socks, deodorant, a key ring, or a huge mug for your tea.
Mankind’s greatest need was and still is forgiveness and salvation from our sins.
Mankind’s greatest need needed God’s greatest gift and that was Jesus.
The most important gift we can give to the world is The gift that’s going to last for eternity.
The gift that’s going to help them get through life, the gift that’s going to tell them that there is hope in this life.
The gift that talks about a Messiah, the gift that talks about a Saviour, the eternal gift.
And so Mary took that little baby Jesus and she wrapped Him in cloths.
Notice Jesus has just been born and there are already little signs of Christ’s final sufferings. When Jesus was born He was wrapped in linen cloth and at His death, they wrapped Him in linen cloth. He was laid in a wooden manger and He died on a wooden tree.
But why was He born in a place where the animals were kept, why was He born in a manger?
When we think of a manger we have to remember it was cold. It’s that damp kind of cold that chills us to the bones and the only heat available was the body heat from Mary and Joseph and the animals in there.
But it’s not only cold in a manger, but it’s also dark.
A manger was usually located underground, beneath the barn. So even when the sun is shining, it’s dark in a manger.
But it’s not only cold and dark in a manger, but it’s also smelly and dirty.
It’s full of mud, manure, dust and cobwebs and it smells of must and mould. It’s the place where the sheep and cows eat, it’s the place where they slobber and drool. In the summer there are flies and spiders and insects and swallows nesting in the rafters.
But why was Jesus born in a place like that?
Well, Jesus is always born in the manger, let me explain.
Every time Jesus comes into our lives, He is born in a manger.
The human heart is like a manger, it’s cold, dark, smelly and dirty.
The human heart is cold because we don’t know the love of God.
The human heart is dark because we don’t have the light of Christ or the hope of salvation.
The human heart is smelly and dirty because we’re sinners and our hearts stink and are stained and soiled by sin.
But the real miracle is that Jesus is willing to be born into hearts like that.
No matter how cold your heart is, Jesus is willing to be born there.
No matter how dark your heart is, Jesus is willing to be born there.
No matter smelly or dirty your heart is, or how sinful your life has been, Jesus is willing to come in, enter and clean your heart.
Jesus is always willing to meet us at the manger.
He encounters us in that place where we feel utterly lost, hopeless and helpless.
Jesus meets us in the darkness of our grief and sorrow and Jesus meets us in the blackness of our despair.
He comes into our lives when we feel unloved, unlovable and alone, when inside we feel cold and half-frozen to death.
Jesus meets us in all the mess and the filth of our sin and when we’ve done things that are unforgivable.
Jesus comes to people like that the unloved, unlovable and alone, He comes to people like you and me.
Jesus was born in a cold, dark, smelly, dirty place because He knew He was going to offer salvation to all those who were hopelessly enslaved in the cold, dark, stench and dirtiness of sin.
Luke records that Mary placed Jesus in a manger ‘because there was no guest room available for them.’
Do you have room for Jesus in your life?
Yes, I understand your life is busy like the rest of us and yes, I understand that being in lockdown has dampened your spirit, but what’s stopping you from allowing Jesus in?
If your life is in a cold, dark, stinking, dirty place at the moment Jesus says, ‘I understand, kind of reminds me of the place where I was born and the condition of the world was in when I first came.’
Will you make room for Jesus to enter your life today?
Because He really wants to enter, no matter where you are from or what you’ve done in the past or are doing at the moment.
He invites us all and says
Stay blessed, stay focused, and stay in Christ.