Jesus was born in a humble place, a stall, with a manger as his first bed. The lowly circumstances of his birth tell us that he came for everyone: the poor, the hungry, the homeless and the hopeless. No one is beneath him. But he also came for the rich and affluent, the famous, the diligent workers and the people who can get by. No one is well off enough to do without him.
His mother, Mary, was found to be pregnant before she was formally married. Therefore, we should remember that God uses all kinds of situations for His divine purpose, and so guard against judgement of "imperfect" circumstances.
His father, Joseph, looked after his family - including the son that technically wasn't his. He didn't make decisions based on outward appearances - but maybe we wouldn't either if we were in on God's plan. We must listen if we are to hear God's direction for our lives, which means always leaving time for silence during our prayers.
Angels announced his birth. A fitting welcome for the King of the Universe, isn't it? This tells me that I should announce his birth too. Christmas carols, poetry, blog posts, greeting cards, my Facebook status and Tweets and all forms of communication can bring to mind "the reason for the season".
Shepherds came to see him, which tells me that they believed and acted on that belief. The multitude of angels suddenly singing in the sky got their attention, and down to the stall they went to greet the new king. If it happened today, would we go or would we wait for the media coverage and watch it from home?
Wise men brought gifts, and very valuable ones at that. Rethinking gift giving would be in order. No more consumerism, as people often complain, but gifts of value to mark the birth of our King. This could be something needed or wanted, but it could also be a phone call or a helping hand. We are commanded to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and to take care of the less fortunate, and our gifts can show our loved ones how much we care about them.
Jesus gave us our mission: go and make disciples. Let us announce him to all people, accept our imperfect circumstances, and hear God's voice and believe. Let us act on our beliefs and give the gift of eternal life this Christmas, and for all the Christmases to come.
For as Jesus said, Eternal life is to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, the one you sent. (John 17:3 CEV)