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 2:7
It is striking how many details came together at the birth of Jesus; so many separate strands came together at one time and place to prepare the perfect setting for his coming – political movements, an empire-wide census which brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, a star in the sky which directed Magi to Bethlehem.
The coming of Jesus into the world happened at a time and in a way that we can clearly see was providentially directed by and planned by God.
Don’t you think then, that the God who can align the stars, the God who can bring down and raise up political leaders, the God who can coordinate a census at just the right time, so that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem, according to the prophecy… don’t you think that such a sovereign God could have also seen to it that there be an available guest room in Bethlehem for the burgeoning family to stay in?
Of course He could have. But He didn’t.
You see, it isn’t a question of what God could have done, it’s a question of what God willed to do. (The same is true in our lives, by the way).
God could have made sure there was a place at the inn. God could have brought Jesus into the world in a wealthy family. But what God willed to do was to have Jesus come into the world through a poor family in an unclean place.
Why? It was for your sake. For your sake He became poor, that through Him you might become rich – with a wealth beyond material riches. The kind of wealth that can never be taken from you, that moth and rust cannot destroy, that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:4).
Jesus’ mission didn’t begin only in his 30th year. No, the road to Calvary began in Bethlehem, in the barn, where the Holy One came into the world in the midst of uncleanness… What a picture of the incarnation that is.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. – 2 Corinthians 8:9