A professional events coordinator would never have chosen Bethlehem for Christ’s birth. This photo is the town as it appears now. In the first century, it held little appeal, just a tiny town off the beaten track. Hardly fit for the birth of a king.
Royalty without overnight accommodations? A pink slip first thing Monday morning for the secretary in charge of hotel reservations.
First-time parents scrounging the streets of a no-account town for lodging, finally settling into the corner of a smelly stable. How inappropriate.
A planner with credentials would have contracted an army of cleaning specialists to disinfect, scrub and polish the most suitable building in the country for the birth of God’s Son – the temple, Jerusalem’s jewel. If not the temple, then another building in Jerusalem. Is it possible that Jerusalem, the royal city, the city of prophets and kings, could be overlooked?
Imagine the planning and ceremony if someone in-the-know had arranged the circumstances of Christ’s birth. Needle workers fashioning quilts of delicate down. Craftsmen designing Messiah’s gilded crib. The high priest supervising, clipboard in hand, noting the names of exceptional workers for an upcoming awards night.
Attention is usually reserved for cities large, lofty and beautiful, like Jerusalem. It takes a special eye to notice what isn’t flaunted. God has an eye for the unpretentious, the quiet and simple. He chose such a town for the birth of His son – that insignificant town whose name means, “house of bread,” plain, ordinary bread.
If the birth had to take place in Bethlehem, at least the finest building in the plain bread town should have been chosen. But even a homely inn was too deluxe for Him. He preferred a stable, a fitting birthplace for someone who would never care about keeping up appearances.
We can accept the plainness of our lives and the ordinary towns and villages we come from because someone whose affection isn’t swayed by glitter, fame, power or cash loves us.
Christ’s birth placed Bethlehem on the map. And His birth in our common hearts erases our insignificance.
God could have a chosen Jerusalem, the jewel. Instead, He chose the plain bread town because crowning the ordinary with His extraordinary presence has always been God’s way.
God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. I Corinthians 1:27