As Christ was laid where beasts were fed, you will please to recollect that after he was gone beasts fed there again. It was only his presence which could glorify the manger, and here we learn that if Christ were taken away the world would go back to its former heathen darkness.
Every detail surrounding the incarnation is significant. The virgin birth, the parents from Galilee, the journey to Bethlehem, the line of David, the shepherd, the angels, and many others are all strands woven into the tapestry of God’s work of redemption from the creation of the world. Therefore, every detail is worth meditating on, even the smaller ones. In his sermon, “No Room for Christ in the Inn,” preached on December 21, 1862, Spurgeon meditates on Luke 2:7 and the fact that Christ was born in a stable and laid in a manger. Why is this detail significant? He gives six reasons:
To Show Christâ€™s Humility
Would it have been fitting that the man who was to die naked on the cross should be robed in purple at his birth? Would it not have been inappropriate that the Redeemer who was to be buried in a borrowed tomb should be born anywhere but in the humblest shed, and housed anywhere but in the most ignoble manner? The manger and the cross standing at the two extremities of the Saviorâ€™s earthly life seem most fit and congruous the one to the other. He is to wear through life a peasantâ€™s garb; he is to associate with fishermen; the lowly are to be his disciples; the cold mountains are often to be his only bed; he is to say, â€œFoxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head.â€
To Declare Christ to be the King of the Poor
With what pertinacity will workingmen cleave to a leader of their own order, believing in him because he knows their toils, sympathizes in their sorrows, and feels an interest in all their concerns. Great commanders have readily won the hearts of their soldiers by sharing their hardships and roughing it as if they belonged to the ranks. The King of Men who was born in Bethlehem, was not exempted in his infancy from the common calamities of the poor, nay, his lot was even worse than theirs. I think I hear the shepherds comment on the manger-birth, â€œAh!â€ said one to his fellow, â€œthen he will not be like Herod the tyrant; he will remember the manger and feel for the poor; poor helpless infant, I feel a love for him even now, what miserable accommodation this cold world yields its Savior; it is not a Caesar that is born today; he will never trample down our fields with his armies, or slaughter our flocks for his courtiers, he will be the poor manâ€™s friend, the peopleâ€™s monarch; according to the words of our shepherd-king, he shall judge the poor of the people; he shall save the children of the needy.â€