You may know that 4 Children are born every second in the world.
That’s 240 every minute, 14,400 every hour, 345,600 every day and 126,144,000 every year (approximately). If you add up all the people who have ever been born (and yes this is a guesstimate) it’s around 108 billion.
Although every person born is unique, people being born is not unique, in fact from the stats it’s a pretty common occurrence.
Then we come to Christmas. Celebrating the birth of Jesus.
In one sense just one more birth among the billions.
But, whatever you believe, there is something about this baby (and the life that would follow) that stands out from the billions and gets our attention. Which is pretty surprising given the fact he was born in an obscure village, worked an ordinary job, spent only a few years teaching and was then crucified as a common criminal. Why then is his birth still celebrated by billions today?
What’s so special about this one birth?
Before you were born your parents may have had some expectations of what you might become; perhaps they kept the bar low and simply hoped you’d be a good sleeper, or maybe they shot a little higher and hoped you’d be a doctor or teacher or that you’d become wealthy so you could take care of your parents in their old age.
When Jesus was born things were said about him, but not the usual kind of stuff parents wish for.
- He was called ‘the Lord saves’ because he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21);
- He will be a king, who would rule with authority (Matthew 2:2);
- and he’ll be called ‘Immanuel’ because he’ll be God with us (Matthew 1:23).
Pretty high expectations for a baby born in the back end of the middle east, in the back end of a house and near the back ends of animals.
But, Jesus' birth didn’t just come with high expectations, it also caused very different reactions. The shepherds were frightened, the wise men respectful, king Herod was furious, the Jewish leaders sceptical, Joseph was surprised and Mary was joyful.
Why was Mary so happy? Because she understood the reason for the season. That in Christ, God had come to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. Peter Lewis puts it well when he writes;
“It comes to this: for our salvation it is quite as necessary that the Son of God be truly and fully human as that he is truly and fully divine. If this humanity is less than full and true, then he is inadequate as a mediator, incompetent as a sympathiser and disqualified as a redeemer. If (save for sin) he is not all that we are our uttermost humanity, then he cannot perfectly represent us either in his life or in his death. If he doesn’t descend to us from God, then he cannot lift us up to God.”*
Joseph ended up trusting; some sceptics ended up believing & the shepherds ended up celebrating. What about you?
Whatever your reaction, this 1 in 108 billion life is worth exploring (not ignoring) and if you’d like to give some time to do just that, why not come and join us at Alpha, click below to find out more.