I love the song “Labor of Love” because it comes closest to capturing the reality of the night of the Christ-child’s birth. “It was not a silent night. There was blood on the ground” goes the song. It also says, “And the stable was not clean, and the cobblestones were cold.”
I think we tend to sanitize the manger scene to reduce the scandal of it. That God should be born in a filthy room with smelly animals and even smellier animal excrement is not an image that brings warm feelings and glad tidings. But the baby wrapped in those swaddling cloths was the “Maker of the moon, He was author of the faith that can make the mountains move.”
God became a poor and helpless infant, lying in a stone feeding trough, and born to a peasant teenage girl married to a poor carpenter all for love’s sake. There are other ways God could have entered the world, but He chose a manger in Bethlehem. He took on human skin and moved into the neighborhood. And it was all for love’s sake.