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).
Read Luke 2:6-7.
On Christmas Eve my thoughts goes back to a "live" nativity when I was a teenager. I was dressed as a wise man, and it was freezing cold. Each of us stood shivering and shaking, waiting for our shift to end, so we could thaw out our aching toes and wrap our frozen fingers around a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
We don't know what time of year Jesus was born. But whatever time of year it was, Joseph and Mary had to lay their Child where no one would ever want to put a newborn -- out in the elements, with only a crude shelter for His protection.
Do you have a manger scene in your front yard? If so, spend a few minutes there tonight. Jesus willingly left His glorious throne in heaven to share the chill of nighttime and the grinding heat of the summer sun. He experienced our hunger and thirst, sleepless nights, and long difficult days.
But more than any of us, He experienced a crown of thorns, a brutal whip across His back, and nails driven into His hands and feet. He took our sins on Himself and felt the full weight of God's wrath, so one day we will live forever in God's presence where, "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat" (Revelation 7:16).
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You left the comforts of heaven to share the difficulties of our life. Through Your suffering and death in our place, You opened heaven to us. Fill our hearts with joy this Christmas and every day until we stand with You in paradise. Amen.