December 20th, 2010
By Brandon Waggy, first year pastoral assistant
Luke 2: 1-18
When I was asked to write a devotional for Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus, I had to laugh to myself. This is THE passage that I grew up hearing every year on Christmas Eve. What could anyone possibly have to say about it that is new? As I began reading it, the first few words felt so familiar that I zoned out. Before I knew it, I had mindlessly skimmed through the whole story.
I have a hunch that my situation is not so unique. Most of us have heard this story so many times, year after year, that we zone out and don’t pay close attention. We forget to notice the real story. Furthermore, we live in a time and place so far removed from the Roman Empire that it is hard for us to comprehend what the birth of Jesus really means.
We cannot understand what it is like to live as Jewish people under the Roman occupation. We have not grown up hoping for the Messiah to come and liberate us from our oppression. We do not understand how antithetical Jesus was to the traditional image of a Messiah; The Messiah was supposed to come from royalty, as a mighty warrior, and lead his people to victory. A feeding trough is hardly a place for the savior of God’s chosen people, a poor carpenter and his young wife are not fitting parents, and shepherds are not a proper welcoming committee.
Yet this is exactly how Jesus chose to enter our world and reveal himself to us. “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28). This story is exactly the way God intended it, but we cannot comprehend it. We read this story, and we miss it.
As we near the birth of Jesus once more this year, may we pay attention. May we look on this passage with new eyes. And may we see the foolish, weak, lowly, and despised way that our Messiah comes to us, that he might shame the wise and the strong and the powerful.