I love Christmas. I love everything about it. Whether we are talking about the true meaning of Christmas or some of the much less important yet fun features of this holiday in 21st-century America, I still love it.
The first Christmas was probably not quite as comfortable for Mary and Joseph. They were in the town that had no accommodations for them. Even though it was the traditional home of Joseph’s family, presumably there were no relatives left in town considering the fact that they were even looking to stay in the inn in the first place.
Beyond that, stables are not exactly known for their five-star amenities. After a long journey to even make it to Bethlehem, there wasn’t even a nice bed for particularly Mary to relax on. Add on the fact that she was in the final days of her pregnancy, and I have a feeling that a comfortable bed would have been most welcome.
Then of course comes the painful process of actually having the child. On top of all of her previous exhaustion, Mary now had to endure what is a very painful process in an era before painkillers.
They would have undoubtedly felt the joy of a newborn baby which seems to come naturally to parents. Although it would not take away all of their exhaustion, this clearly was not a negative experience. It certainly could have been more comfortable, but in the end, their child was healthy, and that is a major positive at the end of this story.
It is really easy to look at classical works of art or even our own nativity sets and think that this was an extraordinarily picturesque experience. Everyone looked perfectly together and comfortable. I’m not quite sure it was entirely like that. Later on in His ministry, Jesus Christ promised His disciples that they were going to have problems on earth for His sake. I think that we can retroactively apply that promise to Mary and Joseph as well. Jesus' coming was not something that immediately brought them earthly comfort or convenience.
It’s a good thing that that was not why Jesus Christ came to earth in the first place.
As a result, when we think about all of the great things that we have here in 21st-century America at Christmas, I am moved to think back to that first Christmas. It is not only a symbol of our great joy in Jesus Christ. It is also a reminder that when we encounter Jesus Christ, our lives are not necessarily going to be comfortable. However, just like that first Christmas, when we meet Jesus Christ and He comes into our lives, our world is never going to be the same.