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  • Writer's pictureR.C. VanLandingham

The Nativity--The Third Joyful Mystery

As we approach Christmas, I am writing about each of the Five Joyful Mysteries. You can read about the First Joyful Mystery--The Annunciation here, and the Second Joyful Mystery--The Visitation here.

The Third Joyful Mystery is the Nativity. This is when Christ was born in Bethlehem.

The Bible tells us that when Mary and Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem Mary was, "great with child." In modern parlance we would say Mary was, "about to pop." In other words, she was due to give birth any day. Thus, the 90 mile trek must have been especially difficult for her whether she walked it, rode in a bumpy wagon, or the back of a donkey.

The trip was further complicated because there was no space available at the inn, and so Mary and Joseph had to sleep in the stable with the animals. Mary gave birth to the King of the Universe in a stable, and laid him in a manger (the animals' feeding trough). It is no coincidence that Christ, who is the Bread of Life, who said we can have no life unless we eat His flesh, found his first bed in a food trough.

God favors the humble, and this is further demonstrated by His own coming to earth in the flesh by being born in a stable. Most would expect a king to be born in a palace. The Three Wise Men certainly did. That is where they went first--Herod's palace. But God, ever making the wise look foolish, chose to be born in a stable. And His birth was not announced to the lords and ladies of the realm, but to shepherds keeping their flocks by night.

Think about the big deal we make of the births of our children today. We try to make sure everything is perfect. We announce the pregnancy with astounding flare on Facebook. The gender reveals are videoed with all of the suspense of Deal or No Deal. We choose the best hospital, or birthing center, or midwife for a home birth. The nursery is adorned with cartoon characters, the blankets are monogrammed. The stroller and car seat are the best money can buy. We have showers and registries. We hire professional photographers to photograph not only the newborn, but momma's belly. The child's bedroom furniture all match, and the drawers are full of so many clothes he or she will never wear them all.

But somewhere out there beyond our view, a baby is being born in an alley, or in a field, or in a stable, or in a tent. If Christ were born today, that is where He would be born--with the lowliest of the low. We wouldn't read about Mary's pregnancy in the tabloids. There would be no pictures on Instagram. Her pregnancy and His birth would go unnoticed by most of the world. Jesus would be just another baby born to poor parents in some backwater edge of nowhere.

When we think our lives or tough or things aren't going perfectly we need to remember the life from conception to death, of God made flesh. If we want to know God, the trick is not to elevate ourselves to the heights of the glorified Christ, but to humble ourselves to the lows of the child who was conceived scandalously in a teenaged girl, born in a stable, laid in a manger, and died on a cross.

Next is the Fourth Joyful Mystery--The Presentation.

R.C. VanLandingham lives in Florida with his wife and kids. Get his Christian fantasy book Peter Puckett & The Amulet of Eternity FREE Here!

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