Luke 2:7 - Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them in the inn. (full text here)
Zechariah's song in Luke 1 reveals a few of the Messianic expectations present at the time. The Jewish people expected the Saviour to overthrow the occupation, bring justice, restore righteousness, and reinstate the kingdom of David on earth. Chapter 2 reveals that things may not be as expected. The night may have been silent, but I imagine Jesus cried like any baby as he felt the discomfort of the cold night air on newly born cheeks. The birth of Jesus was far from royal - born not in comfort but bound in cloths and laid in a feeding trough, surrounded not by the pampered upper class but by lowly shepherds, and snuggled closely by parents who were far from wealthy. But although this humble birth was unexpected, how amazing that the Messiah would suffer with his people even from birth.
From the start, our historian Luke reveals that the life and mission of the Messiah is not as was expected. Jesus is born in obscurity and humility, without fanfare or riches. He receives glory from angels and shepherds, but the people and the kingdoms of the world slept through the night unaware of how the world had changed. The Kingdom of the Messiah was from the beginning the opposite of the kingdoms of the world. He was born to rule not land, but hearts. He was born not to depose rulers, but to root out hidden sins. He was born not to point to Himself, but to point the way to the Father.
Jesus turns our religious presuppositions on their heads. Many Christians today say about their faith, "It's not a religion, it's a relationship." Rather than trying to be good to earn a better life or a place in heaven, we realize that by faith we are saved, through grace, not by ourselves but through the gift of God. Our "good works" are an outpouring of being plugged into the vine, the mere result of stumbling as we follow the footprints of the Good Shepherd. He calls us to do the unexpected, to live in a way that surprises the world. Contrary to the "me first" society prevalent in the world, we are to put "me last". As he made himself nothing, taking on the form of a servant, so we are to live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
And whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many."