At Christmas, we celebrate the moment when God came to be one of us. It was quite unexpected. But that is not the only surprise in the Christmas story. Having got passed the basic idea of God becoming human, we come to the fine detail of how God chose to do that. God did not chose to come in wealth; he came in poverty. He did not choose to come in power; he came in weakness. He didn’t choose to come in comfort; but chose the inconvenience of the manger.
This is God’s way. This is what God is like. And this is what God calls us to be like. As Jesus put it towards the end of his short life: "whoever wishes to be first among you must be servant of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life for many.”
It is in our nature, as human beings, to choose the biggest, fasted, flashiest, most impressive things available. But God did the opposite. He chose humility and obscurity. He chose the manger, and a handful of shepherds.
Across the long story of human religion, we like our gods to be big and powerful. However, when God came to live among us, he chose to be small and weak.