As Christmas rolled around again this year, I began to wonder why God sent Jesus to earth as a little baby in Bethlehem. We have told and retold the story, and I have practically memorized Luke 2. There’s Mary riding on the donkey, Joseph frantically looking for an inn, the shepherds seeing angels in the field, and wise men from the East following a star.
I remember playing the part of Mary or an angel, or even getting dressed up like a wise man when there weren’t enough boys in my Sunday school class. I walk through stores and sing the Christmas hymns under my breath. I know them all so well.
But I found myself wondering today why God chose to send Jesus as a baby to such a young unwed mother. I wonder why God chose the stable and humble shepherds. This was the only begotten Son of God, for goodness’ sake! It could have been so much more dramatic. Every eye could have seen His coming then, as the Bible says they will someday see His return. So why a baby, why a fragile little child, a helpless thing, wrapped in rags and placed in a cow’s feeding trough?
The last few weeks have been hard for me, with bouts of migraines and insomnia. I’ve tried to appear at my best, but I’ve felt so weak these past few days. I’ve wondered how I could get through and get even the most necessary things done.
And I answered my own question today as I realized why God chose to send Jesus the way He did. The Bible says He was in all ways tempted like us. Maybe He needed to experience what it was like to be so weak and small, to have to depend on others, to cry for help, to feel how prickly the straw was, how cold the night air felt.
In spite of all of that, He went on, preparing for the work God sent Him for—which was also not so grand and glorious at first glance and ended with Him dying on a wretched cross. He chose to come, knowing what He would experience. He was human and He can relate. Jesus chose to become human to relate to us in our weakness and smallness and most uncomfortable moments.
That is part of what makes the story so amazing and so beautiful. That is one of the reasons why we recreate it in churches and display our Nativity scenes. The very humility of it all is the miracle, God’s Son taking on human form. The very humanity of it all makes us feel God’s love in a unique way.