“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7, emphasis mine)
It’s called an “inn”, for whatever reason.
“And the first beast was like a lion…” (Revelation 4:7a)
I find it remarkable that the God of the universe hadn’t prepared a place in what many civilized people would consider to be a natural location befitting, at least a peasant, if not a king (Not even one room?). A modern-day, entitled attitude sees everything—not as a gift from God—but as evidence that they are “living right” and therefrom somehow earning and deserving-of, say, that parking place at the front of the lot. But! We have “the mind of Christ”, right (1 Corinthians 2:16)? Fast-forward a little to the time in the temple when Joseph and Mary bring Jesus to Simeon in order to sanctify Him unto the Lord according to the Law of Moses:
“And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35)
When one is called to affect a piece of the world for God, He’ll bring the person in question down to the lowest of the low, the least-common denominator in relation to the sphere to which they’re called. In the case of Jesus—“the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29b)—it’s like His Father started Him at a lower place than would be necessary for anyone else.
“and the second beast like a calf…” (Revelation 4:7b)
Think about what Simeon spoke aloud regarding the Lord: “that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” What is a “thought”? Can I see it? How does it affect the way I live and the world in which I live? And, do I have “thoughts” or is it something more akin to atoms and then molecules? Sometimes it’s hard to do what Paul describes in his second letter to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 10:5b, emphasis mine): “[bring] into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Sometimes it feels like the things running through my head are not individual objects that can be separated one from another and sifted through but more in line with liquid, or sludge. Dear God. I find comfort in this scripture: “In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:19)
Jesus is Lord of all. When Paul said “we have the mind of Christ”, this means that we have a capacity, a lens through which to view the thoughts and emotions (like the aforementioned “atoms and molecules”) that come at us and arise within and through us. Jesus started at the bottom in order to build up that mind, in humility, to be able to gift it to us via the Holy Spirit.
“and the third beast had a face as a man…” (Revelation 4:7c)
Behind each face is a thousand thoughts, sometimes more, operating in and around and interdependent of one another. There’s no way we can read another’s mind, let alone our own. “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.” (Psalm 94:11) The sad thing is, there is no room in the thoughts of man for the Lord Christ. This is why the Father had to start off as He did, with His “holy child Jesus” (Acts 4:30b). This notion that we have earned anything on our own merit, preparing for an ushering in to the kingdom of Heaven, is anathema. It is beyond irrational. The Father didn’t keep His Son from being born into comfort out of maliciousness, it’s just that He started Jesus off on the right foot so that He could bring everyone else up from the bottom as well.
“and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.” (Revelation 4:7d)
Take a second this Christmas—maybe around the time you retire to your after dinner coffee and before you remember those little stocking stuffers you forgot among the rush of the big presents under the tree (assuming you even got anything for Christmas)—and give Jesus a thought, a moment, an emotion. He more than warrants it. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes for us and placed, not under a tree, but with the animals. Let us go out of our comfort and present Him a place in our minds and hearts.
“And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” (Revelation 15:8)