"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them." Luke 2:4-7
One small child lying in a manger. God’s redemption plan couldn’t have had humbler beginnings. Under the thumb of Roman oppression and having gone 4 centuries without a prophet, the people of Israel were longing for a Messiah.
And yet Jesus’ arrival defied numerous expectations and cultural norms. Nazareth, can anything good come from that place…? Wait, his mother wasn’t married yet…? A group of shepherds were his welcoming committee…? The son of a carpenter…?
But this was how God chose to show his love toward us—in a simple and humble stable in Bethlehem. From that day forward Jesus brought his message of hope. Hope for an oppressed people. Hope for ALL people! Eternal hope despite humble beginnings.
When we look at the political and global scene around climate change these days, there is much to be discouraged about. CO2 levels and global temperatures continue to rise unabated. News stories are filled with climate-related disasters, and scientific reports detail how these will only get worse. Governments backtrack on their pledges, and even committed countries still fall short of their goals.
Yet on this holy day, we remember the humble origins of our savior. More importantly we rejoice in the hope that the Messiah brings to our world—hope for salvation, but also hope for redemption.
And even though the climate is in rough shape right now, we know from experience that God can use humble beginnings and a few unexpected, but faithful, people to change the world. So keep hoping. Keep being faithful in your climate prayers and actions. And rejoice today in our savior’s birth!
God of hope, on this holy day we remember the birth of your son, and we rejoice in the hope that Jesus brought to our lives and to this world. Thank you for your brilliant plan to redeem the world from humble and unexpected beginnings. We ask that you will use your people to redeem and renew our world from the climate chaos at work today. Keep hope in our hearts as we continue to advocate and act for a better world. In Christ’s name.