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A Surprise: The Nobody-Baby

Today I’m pleased to share a guest post from Matt Erickson, a contributor to the Advent devotional, “Where the Light Shines Brightest,” published by the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College. Matt Erickson is Senior Pastor of Eastbrook Church.

As I sat in the hospital with the new parents and their baby girl, nurses walked in and out to check vital signs, telling the parents how cute their little girl was. Family members gathered in the room, and an older sister stared at this new being who was joining her daily life. Usually, new babies receive a lot of attention.

Yet at Jesus’ arrival, he received little attention by any earthly measure. Surprisingly, the King of all creation was born as a lowly, disregarded nobody-baby. In part, that was because Mary and Joseph were nobodies. Joseph was a craftsman from the small town of Nazareth in Galilee. Mary was a young woman with an apparently questionable character. Still, they were the nobodies God wanted to use, and that was a surprise.

No matter how charming they may look in many sentimental paintings, the shepherds were also cast-offs from society. According to the standards of their day, shepherding was a lower class, messy career, even though the shepherd’s role had kingly associations in scripture. These rough-around-the-edges nobodies were the very first to see God in the flesh after Mary and Joseph. This is certainly a surprise.

Even the magi were not what we might expect. Although apparently wealthy, they came from outside Israel and, as Gentiles, were some of the least expected to receive a message from God. Yet onward they came as part of God’s vital story. Nobodies in the spiritual sense, they traveled great distances in response to God’s surprising message sparked by a miraculous star. They worshiped this child king, this nobody Messiah. Gentiles around the Jewish King was a jarring surprise. Again and again, God does surprising things. His plans come in unexpected packages, and his ways touch unexpected lives.

God is the God of the nobodies.

That is my story, and that is your story. May we be the sort of people who reach out to other nobodies with the surprisingly good news of a nobody-baby who makes us somebody with God.

Lord, Thank You for pursuing nobodies. Thank You for pursuing me, even though I am nobody by the world’s eyes. Give me Your eyes to see other nobodies the way that You do. Help me to share Your unexpected message of hope and life with everyone I encounter today. Amen.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)


The cover photo for today’s post is a picture of children in Syria. This Advent, news is coming from the ancient city of Aleppo of mass executions of civilians, including women and children.

One of the few nonprofit organizations to stay in the region is Preemptive Love Coalition. Learn more and give to those for whom there is no room in the inn here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]