Luke 2:6 tells us, “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Corrie Ten Boom is the author of The Hiding Place and survivor of Ravensbruck concentration camp where over 90,000 women and children died at the hands of the Nazis. She and her sister Betsy lived there for a period of time. It was classified as the worst prison camp in all of Germany. A prayer found in the pocket of a dead child from Corrie’s prison area read:
“O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all of the suffering they have inflicted upon us: Instead remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering, our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown from this trouble. When our persecutors come to be judged by you, let all of these fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.”
Corrie and Betsy lived in an area infested by fleas. Corrie writes that one day she and Betsy were studying 1 Thessalonians and were reminded “to be thankful in all things, to pray constantly, and rejoice in all things.” When Corrie insisted to her sister that she would not be thankful for the fleas, Betsy persisted. Corrie eventually agreed to rejoice for even the fleas. Months later Corrie learned the reason the soldiers did not bother them or harm them was because the soldiers were afraid of the fleas. She writes:
“During the months spent at that camp, we were surprised to find how openly we could hold Bible study and prayer meetings in our barrack without guard interference. Several months later we learned that the guards would not enter the barracks because of the fleas.”
Have you ever wondered why Jesus was born in such a lowly state? If He had come as He deserved, could He have influenced so many lives? Could He have professed “I am the Savior of everyone, not just the Jews and not just the wealthy. I have come to save the world!” Wouldn’t His birth have been more apparent to Herod and those who wanted to harm Him if he had been born into royalty?
Sometimes the discomforts of our lives are unwanted and undesirable by us. But just like the fleas, we must realize that even in suffering, God can turn it and use it for good. I have never given birth, but I have been there with my wife. Even in the most luxurious of places, it is no easy task for a woman. Imagine Mary, a young girl, giving birth in a stable with livestock and no one familiar to her but Joseph. But while they were there, our Savior was born.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”