How alone Mary and Joseph must have felt. There she was 9 months pregnant, very young, and away from home, carrying the promised Messiah. Where were their families? Luke 2 tells us that “all the world would be taxed.” Didn’t all Joseph’s family have to go to Bethlehem to register? I mean, if he was of the lineage of David, so was his father, his brothers, his cousins. Right? Their aloneness just emphasizes the weight of their situation. Mary was with child but everyone knew Joseph and Mary had not had their wedding yet. Every day, she had to hold her head up and endure the whispers and snickers and hurtful words; pain that lasted her entire lifetime. To carry and bear God’s Son was an honor, but also a huge responsibility. It certainly didn’t come in a neat, comfortable package!
Did Joseph’s friends slap him on the back and give him a sly smile or did they “unfriend” him? Joseph tried to get out of all of this you know, but God graciously explained His plan to him and Joseph listened. Joseph doesn’t get a lot of press, but I just love him! What an honorable man. We need more Josephs in this world; men willing to follow God in faith and obedience even when the cost is great. Can’t you just picture his tender care for Mary? There was no midwife in that stable. Joseph had to deliver the child. That had to be way out of his comfort zone! But he did it. He chose to trust God and, in turn, trust Mary. He chose to care for her in whatever way that was required. He chose to endure whatever humiliation this situation caused. He loved God and he loved Mary. Now, that is a real Hallmark love story!!!!!!
God spoke everything into existence and yet His Son was born in a dirty, smelly cave full of yard animals. That just doesn’t seem right, does it? Everything about our Savior’s life screams humility and understatement. He didn’t need the best of this world’s stuff. He had a mission and that is where He kept His focus. It wasn’t about Him. It was all about us!!!
He slipped in among us while we slept. The only ones who recognized His birth were some shepherds who most likely were in dire need of a bath and some Magi who studied the stars and knew the Old Testament writings. One was a group of the lowest class of people who also were snubbed by those around them. The other was a group of elite people; wealthy, respected, educated. Isn’t God good? He loves us all regardless of our social status or education. These two groups of people also chose to listen to God. The shepherds left their posts to find this baby and the Magi loaded up their camels and made a long trek across the desert to find this King. God spoke to the shepherds through a magnificent choir of angels and He spoke to the Magi through a star unlike any they had seen. How is God speaking to you? Are you listening? Are you willing to follow Him wherever it may lead?
Sometimes God asks us to do hard things. What if Mary had said no to God? I wouldn’t have blamed her. Her life certainly would have been a whole lot easier! But she said yes and her obedience brought to us the gift of salvation. There is no way she could have comprehended the gravity of her obedience. We understand it more because hindsight is 20/20.
What is God asking you to do? Is He asking you to do something that means you will have to step outside of your comfort zone? Will following Him mean your family and friends will think you’ve lost your mind? Sure, you can say no, but what will you forfeit if you do? Who’s life will be affected for eternity because you trusted God above your comfort? Mary and Joseph said yes. That decision affected every single human ever born!!!! They give us much to ponder.
Christmas isn’t really about a baby in a manger. It is about God becoming flesh so He could redeem us from our sin. His birth was shadowed by a looming cross. God the Son said yes and it was a costly choice, yet it has eternal ramifications.
Have you said yes to His gift of salvation? Jesus is the only way to spend eternity with God. Celebrate Christmas as it was meant to be; the day that changed history forever and ever.
Merry Christmas and lots of love, Sharon