I love Christmas cards. They are like portraits of the beauty of the season.
We got a Christmas card the other day that made me think of this as I re-read the story of that first Christmas. God wove so many beautiful images into that story.
There is of course Mary, the virgin. This fulfills the prophecy of
Isaiah 7:14″Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
Then there is Bethlehem, the birthplace . Again prophecy fulfilled.
Micah 5:2, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”
Bethlehem was the prophetic place of the Messiah’s birth. Why? What’s so great about Bethlehem?
Look at the name itself. In Hebrew Beth meant house. Lahem meant bread. Bethlehem meant, the “House of bread.” Jesus said, “I am the bread of life which comes down from the father.” Isn’t it interesting that the bread of life would be born in the house of bread?
Bethlehem was David’s home. Again, Prophecy fulfilled. The Bible says that the Messiah would come through David’s lineage. Both of Jesus’ earthly parents, – Joseph and Mary – trace their lineage back to David. Jesus was a direct descendant of David. Born in Bethlehem.
Here is another symbol: The first people to arrive on the scene were Shepherds.
Why shepherds? David was a shepherd. Yes. But so is God.
Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
Remember Matthew 2:6, “For out of you shall come forth a ruler, who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Shepherds came to remind us that this new king would be a shepherd.
So many powerful spiritual portraits painted by God that night. We can’t even go into them all. But none as powerful as the stable itself. Jesus was born in a stable!
Think of that.
God himself comes to earth. He could have arranged it in a wide variety of ways.
A stable. Why a stable?
That’s where you keep the livestock . So. What’s that mean? Simply this. Where else would the lamb of God be born?
And Mary brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger. The lamb of god, Mary’s little lamb was born in a stable. And one day he would become the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world.
To me, that’s a beautiful portrait of God’s love.