We have come so far from the world Jesus was born into that we forget how that world was a place of stifling stability. In the classical world, the major markers of your life were all predictable the day you were born: your trade, friends, spouse, residence, all of it. The twin powers of blood and soil dictated everything. Today we call that fascism; they called it common sense.
Jesus was born into that fascist world. The blood ties of His clan and the soil of His birthplace dictated a certain kind of life: He should practice His (presumed) father’s trade, marry a girl of equivalent station in the village, listen to the rabbis, pay His taxes to the Romans. Being born out of wedlock, He was also expected to submit to lifelong shame: they were still throwing that in His face in His 30s (John 8:41).
But a human partaking in the divine nature is not bound by blood and soil. Simply by incarnating and living the life His Father set before Him, Jesus broke that world forever. Everywhere His followers have gone, pursuing our common Father’s business, we have done unexpected things: care for orphans and widows, heal the sick, lift the last, the lost, and the least. We have called tyrants to repentance, founded hospitals, funded scientists, freed slaves. The progress has been slow—the Kingdom of God is like leaven—and because slow, easily forgotten.
Let us remember, that we might be grateful.