Have you ever spent time thinking about the situation surrounding your birth? I was born at a really early age so I don’t remember much about my birth. I didn’t get to choose where I was born, to whom I was born, or into what situation I was born. Thankfully, I was born to modest parents who worked hard to provide for their small family. I was born in the biggest small town in Texas, far from political upheaval and abusive tyrants. I was the second boy born to a mom who wanted a girl and a dad who only wanted one. I say that jokingly because my parents adored me and there was never a time I didn’t know and deeply feel their love.
God, the Word, became flesh and made his dwelling among us. He was called Immanuel, “God with us,” and given the name Jesus (Joshua, in Hebrew), which means, “God saves.” God had the ability to choose how, to whom, and where he would be born into this world. He chose a teenage refugee virgin living under an oppressive government who couldn’t secure a room to give birth in. This is far from a “noble birth.”
What does this birth tell you about God?
As you read “The Story” this week, spend some time focusing on the characters, their responses, and their positions in society. Ask questions as to what the Gospel writers are trying to communicate when each person is mentioned. Example: Who comes to visit baby Jesus? Shepherds and Magi (Wise Men). The birth of the Messiah is revealed to two groups: the “nobodies” of society and foreigner from a far-off land. What does this tell us about Jesus’ ministry and who he came for?
Who is anxious in this story? Why?
In your personal devotion time this week, spend some time reflecting on what it means that God became flesh. What do these humble beginnings mean for you and the life you live in proximity to the world around you? Take some time to reflect on Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi where he quotes a song that the early church was familiar with (Phil 2:5-11). Here are more passages for your reflection this week as we look at the birth of Jesus: Colossians 1:15-23, 2:6-15, 3:1-17 and Hebrews chapters 1-2. I’d love to hear your questions and thoughts about the readings this week. I really look forward to our discussion in bible class on Sunday. Find ways to be the incarnation to the world around you this week.