Enter Jesus, the “uncommonly common” baby born in Bethlehem. He was common in that He was completely human and uncommon in that He was completely God. I should add He was “uniquely” uncommon as no one before or since has come as He did.
The writer of Hebrews illustrates both the common and uncommon nature of Jesus in 3:17-18: “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:17-18). Jesus suffered common temptations and lived a common life, but He took our place on the cross as only the Son of God could.
In Jesus, God made the ultimate connection with His creation. The first time we see God on earth, He came to the Garden seeking Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. He likely returned as the Priest of Salem (Genesis 14:18), and perhaps as the fourth man in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:25). Then in the fullness of time, He became our brother, born of a virgin, and raised in a carpenter’s home in Nazareth (Galatians 4:4).
Surely the people who watched Jesus grow up knew He was uncommon. Mary and Joseph could not forget the appearance of the angels who prepared them for the birth to come. The shepherds knew, as did the Magi. Simeon and Anna celebrated Jesus’ temple dedication and twelve years later the teachers in the temple were amazed by His understanding.
But He was also so common. Nazareth was a small town, and a good carpenter’s work was never finished. Some have speculated that Joseph died when Jesus was a young man, requiring Him to manage the shop until His brothers were old enough to assume responsibility. His tools would have been crude by modern standards, and if He sliced a finger He would have had to tough things out without sterile ointments approved by the FDA.
It must have all been very strange for Mary who treasured up memories in her heart and waited for each page in God’s story of redemption to be turned. The whole thing might still seem strange to us. But it is the uncommonly common that gives us comfort in our commonly uncommon circumstances.