And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.
- Luke 2:12
Some people will go to great lengths to wrap a Christmas gift. They will create beautiful, ornate packages. I have no wrapping ability whatsoever. My wrapped packages look horrible. For men, wrapping paper is merely an obstacle to keep us from what we really want. We don't care about wrapping paper. We just want to know what's inside the package.
God's gift did not come to us in elaborate wrapping; it came in simple wrapping. Jesus was born in Bethlehem in a very humble environment. Think how difficult the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem was for Mary and Joseph. Then when they arrived, they had to stay in a little stable or cave where the animals were kept. The manger was just a feeding trough for the animals. And I think that place was very cold that night. I think it smelled like any other stable. It was a very unsanitary environment in which to bring a child into the world.
I don't say that to detract from the beauty of Christmas. Rather, I say it to add to the beauty of what God did for us. The Creator of the universe, the Almighty God who spoke creation into existence, came and humbled himself to become a little baby, born in a stable in Bethlehem.
He was not laid in the manger in satin sheets, but in rags. He was not laid in a bed of gold, befitting a king, but in a feeding trough for animals. There He was-the greatest gift of all-in simple wrapping. Jesus took His place in a manger so that we might have a home in heaven.