A stable? What a place to give birth to the Messiah! The smells and sounds of a barnyard were our Savior's first human experience. Like other babies, He may even have cried at the sounds of the animals and the strangers parading around His temporary crib.
If so, they would have been the first of many tears. Jesus would come to know human loss and sorrow, the doubts his brothers and family had about Him, and the pain His mother experience as she saw Him tortured and killed. All these hardships - and so much more - awaited the baby trying to sleep that first night. Yet from His very first moments, Jesus was "God with us" (Matt. 1:23), and He knew what it meant to be human. This would continue for over three decades, ending at His death on the cross.
Because of His love for you and me, Jesus became fully human. And being human allows Him to identify with us. Never again can we say that no one understands us, Jesus does. May the Light that entered the world that night cast its brilliance into the deepest corners of our souls this Christmas, giving us the peace on Earth of which the angels spoke so long ago.