But the wise men didn’t arrive when Jesus was born. Most scholars believe they arrived at least a year – if not more – later. Remember Herod killing all the children 2 years old and younger “acording to the time which he had determined from the magi” (Matthew 2:16). Well, there you have it. And THAT is not very romantic. Not at all.
If you read The Nativity Misconception Part 2 you may have changed your opinion about the shepherds. They were quite possibly children. Kids. Wow.
We say the cattle were lowing, but the cattle were really pooping. They probably didn’t smell that good and you know what? Mary was about to have a BABY in that…. more on that in a minute.
We say the baby didn’t cry. But crying isn’t a sin. Do we really think Jesus didn’t cry?
Don’t think so.
And let’s face it, would any of you volunteer to have your baby in a barn? Well, hold the phone on that one too. A lot of times, an overflow area where they kept mangers and extra animals was a CAVE.
You got me. Jesus may have been born in a CAVE. The Bible doesn’t specify WHERE the manger was, only that there was no room in the Inn, and a manger was present.
Blood, uterus, amniotic fluid, baby, hay, rock, and dirt.
Doesn’t sound that great does it?
Was Mary scared? You bet she was. She was probably no older than 16. And what about Joseph? I bet this was going over and over in his head: “An angel of the Lord did come to me, right? But we are having this baby in a dirty place. Did we do something wrong? The angel DID say this was the Son of God, right?”
In a cave?
Oh, and when they laid the Son of God in a manger….well, that really wasn’t filled with hay. A manger in the Middle East is a WATER trough, not a food bin. It was DAMP and COLD.
The Son of God, born on a dirty floor, to a poor couple, and laid in a DAMP manger.
Let’s look at our next Nativity and know this was no cake walk. This was HARD.
But lets pause to consider the symbolism:
Bethlehem means “House of Bread'”
Jesus, the “bread of life” was born in the house of bread. “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35
Jesus, the “living water” was laid in a water trough. “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14
Jesus, our Rock, our cornerstone, may have been born in a rock. “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 1 Peter 2:6
Why did God do this? Why did God allow His only Son to go through these hard times? Why?
Think for a minute how unsure Mary and Joseph might have felt. Are you unsure about your walk? Maybe the things happening in your life are for others. Think Mary may have doubted when she laid Jesus in a water bin? But think about the message for us. Jesus is our living water. Think it was hard for Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem? But Jesus had to be born in the “House of Bread.”
Things happening in our life, though hard, are God’s way of weaving together a great tapestry of Fabulousness.
Don’t think Jesus understands about being in a weird, hard situation – think again.
Don’t think Jesus has ever been cold – think again.
Don’t think Jesus knows what it means to be betrayed (Luke 22:48), or denied (Luke 22:61), or not believed by even family (John 7:5)? Think again. Think again. Think again.
The next time you see a Nativity think again. He did all that so that me and you could one day know that we have a God that did not come so God could understand us, but so that we would understand the heart of God.
We are His heart. And He wants us to think again.
And know the truth of His love.