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Why do we think of Jesus as being poor? Poverty does not always equate to humility. Perhaps we think it does because Jesus was born in a manger. But His father was a carpenter, a very respectable career. Jesus was not born in a manger because He was poor, but because there was no room for Him anywhere else. The city was jam-packed with travelers from all over, forced there by Caesar in order to take a census ~ and in order for Jesus to fulfill the prophecy in the Bible.
Jesus’ father and mother exhibited humility. Surely, Joseph could have pushed his weight around in Bethlehem, boasting about who he was an heir to, but Joseph chose to be a quiet man and remain humble as he moved around looking for a suitable place for himself and his pregnant wife. He took what was offered, with a gracious heart. He was truly (in the purest form) grateful for having the stable to use.
Joseph might have been given a good room if he had announced loudly that his wife was about to give birth at any moment. Surely, had more people known about her condition, someone would have given up their comfort for one night. But Joseph chose to remain humble and silent, keeping his burden only onto himself. He truly was a humble and Godly man. No wonder God chose him to foster and care for His Son!
And what about Mary? She had a say in all this! After all, it was she who would be uncomfortably giving birth in a stable. Yet, she accepted the provisions her faithful husband provided. What a marvelous example of faith in God to take care of all things. What a model of a trust, believing that God would not allow more than she could bear. Is it any wonder that God chose her to be the mother of His Son?
So, were they poor people? No. They came from a modest family, as most of us do. If God wanted us to pity His son, then Joseph would have been a financially poor man. God was not looking for pity; He was not looking for love. He was displaying just how much He loves us by this example of humility.
When I think of all the people in my life, when I think of the times I most strongly felt their love toward me, it was always during their greatest display of humility. I don’t think love can live in any other attitude.
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© 1998 by Nancy Gardner Viola