“And she brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7
Behold, how simply these things happen on earth, and yet they are so highly esteemed in heaven. On earth it happens thus: there is a poor young wife, Mary, at Nazareth, though nothing of and regarded as one of the lowliest women in the town. No one is aware of the great wonder that she bears. And she herself keeps silent, does not pride herself, and thinks she is the lowliest woman in the town. She goes up with Joseph, her master. They have probably neither man-servant nor maid-servant, but he is master and servant, and she is mistress and maid. Perhaps they left their homestead to look after itself or they may have given it into a neighbour’s care.
As they are thus drawing nigh to Bethlehem, the Evangelist resents them to us as the most wretched and disdained of all the pilgrims, being forced to give way to everyone till at last they are turned out into a stable, and made to share shelter, table, and bechamber with the beasts, while many a wicked man sits in the inn above and is treated like a lord. Not a soul notices and knows what God is doing in that stable. He leaves empty the manors and stately chambers and leaves the people to their eating and drinking, and their good cheer. But this is comfort and great treasure remains hidden from them.
O, what a thick, black darkness was over was over Bethlehem then, that she failed to apprehend so great a light. How truly God shows that He has no regard for the people for what he is, and has, and does.
Note: This sermon was originally from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther in Christmas of 1522.