Humble Beginnings

by | May 21, 2007 | Christmas, Humility

“She wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7 (NIV)

As a farmer’s daughter, I have been around mangers and hay, barns and stables, and all the smells associated with them. Consequently, my perspective on the first Christmas is different from the picture painted by the lyrics of the hymn “Away in a Manger”.

I imagine Joseph was kneeling in a cow pie as he helped Mary deliver the baby. He was probably swatting away a persistent fly, trying not to panic about the situation. Perhaps Mary was sneezing from the hay in between contractions, and the animals probably made all sorts of interesting noises in response to the strangers that had invaded their space. I have a feeling that the cloth they wrapped the baby Jesus in was the same one they had thrown over the back of the donkey for the trip. The amazing part of the Christmas story is that Christ came from a place that was pristine, to a world that was not. I can hardly imagine a more dramatic change.

In winter months, my cystic fibrosis symptoms also change dramatically. I go from feeling fine to struggling for breath. Sometimes I get sick enough to require hospitalization. When this happens, I sometimes ask God why, if he loves me, he would allow me to endure such unpleasant circumstances? In those moments, God gently reminds me of the conditions in which his son took his first breath as an infant.

Jesus began his life naked and uncomfortable, being drooled on by animals. Jesus’ life ended in a similar way. He began his life in a position of humility, and it ended with him being humiliated. As he hung on the cross he was naked, far beyond uncomfortable, and spat upon by men.

I am awed by God’s plan for his son to have his humble beginnings and the fact that he deliberately started that way in order to reach us on our level.

Lauren Beyenhof:


Humble Beginnings