And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:6-7 ESV)
My wife and I are participating in an advent reading this year—a practice I would highly suggest (resources available below). A recent reading was based on Luke 2:6-7. In the verses leading up to this passage, we hear of a decree from Caesar Augustus that the entire world should register for a census. This would require each male-head to return to his hometown with family in tow. For Joseph, this meant a trip back to Bethlehem with his pregnant fiancé, Mary. Elsewhere in the Gospel accounts, we find that there are no rooms available for Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem—the author of our advent reading shares some thoughts:
Now you would think that if God so rules the world as to use an empire-wide census to bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, he surely could have seen to it that a room was available in the inn...Yes, he could have. And Jesus could have been born into a wealthy family. He could have turned stone into bread in the wilderness. He could have called 10,000 angels to his aid in Gethsemane. He could have come down from the cross and saved himself. The question is not what God could do, but what he willed to do. God’s will was that though Christ was rich, yet for your sake he became poor. The ‘No Vacancy’ signs over all the motels in Bethlehem were for your sake. ‘For your sake he became poor’ (2 Corinthians 8:9).
(John Piper, Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent, 2013)
For our sake, Jesus walked the Calvary Road. He traded his heavenly crown for a crown of thorns, his throne for a cross, and his royal garments for the shame of all who would call him King. He did this for me, and He did this for you.
As we walk through this advent season, may we rejoice in a King whose humble reign knows no end—and glory knows no bounds.
Suggested Advent Readings:
Good News of Great Joy – John Piper (Free Download)
The Dawning of Indestructible Joy – John Piper (Free Download)
God is in The Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Christ in Christmas: A Family Advent Celebration – James Montgomery Boice, James C. Dobson, R. C. Sproul, Chuck Swindoll