Lowly settings are one striking aspect of the Christmas story. Christ was not born in a palace. His parents were neither state officials nor religious dignitaries. Yet his birth proved to be an event of greatest importance.
Actually Christ was born in a stable, i.e. in a room where cattle and animals had their place. This reminds me of people in poor countries that share housing with their animals. They don’t have separate rooms for man and animal.
Lowly people were the first to witness that event in Bethlehem. Shepherds that had been tending their flocks came to see the baby.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been shepherds. Shepherding has had a central place in the development of the Israelite nation. Yet surely we could imagine other sorts of people to be the first to see the newborn saviour of the world.
Looking at the birth of Jesus Christ from a more theological point of view shows an even more striking aspect of lowliness in the Christmas events. He had been God from everlasting yet he became a man just as us.
Jesus Christ, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6+7/NIV).
The very fact that Christ accepted the limitations of human life shows his humility. He gave up the divine glory he had eternally enjoyed in heaven.
In recent posts I have been dealing with a verse in 1 Corinthians 13. Paul speaks of giving away all possessions to the poor: (Verse 3/NIV).
Jesus Christ gave up his divine glory in heaven in order to become man. We could say: he gave up everything he had. He was born in a manger. And he lived a life of love to help and to serve people. Finally he laid down his life in order to save us.