Christ who Came
Matthew 1:18-25 NKJV
Luke 2:7 NKJV
For several years now every Christmas Eve has been a time of great reflection and remembering for me.
See, I am long past the time in my life when I had to make sure the presents were purchased, wrapped, and ready. I now let “the kids” choose their own and they are okay with that. I no longer need to prepare a great feast for a large crowd of family and friends because my children live in other states.
While I cherish those long ago memories, I don’t regret their passing.
Christmas Eve now affords time to pray, to remember what God did, and to really be grateful for the child who came.
I don’t regret the hustle and bustle of my children and my grandchildren, but I think God has replaced those days with peace and contentment. I now have time to ponder the wonder of the season.
In Matthew 1:18-25 the disciple wrote:
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.”
One of the things I ponder is the utter integrity of Joseph.
The young woman (just a teenager really) turned up pregnant and he knew the child was not his. Many men would have been thinking about saving their own skin and reputation and they would have outed her immediately.
Not so, with Joseph.
Instead he looked for a solution that would not make the whole affair public.
He sought to protect the young maid he had betrothed.
He knew a good and just Hebrew man would find a quiet way to hide her betrayal to him.
In my mind I ponder just what kind of man would be that loving and kind to a young girl who had betrayed him by sleeping with another man after she had promised herself to him.
This man of honor, Joseph was a simple carpenter from the tribe of Judah. He didn’t have any high hopes or expectations in life.
It was traditional for a father to teach his sons the trade of the family. More than likely, Joseph had learned to be a carpenter from his father Jacob and he taught those same skills to Jesus and his sons.
Another item to note about Joseph is that when he had the dream and the Angel told him not to be afraid to complete his vows with Mary because the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Joseph seems to have accepted the dream.
Now…since that had not happened before, I think accepting the fact that the dream was from God was remarkable by itself. No where in scripture does it say that Joseph questioned the validity of the dream.
He knew the Angel that appeared to him in the dream was from God.
He accepted the message.
He believed because he trusted God.
Then, Joseph acted on his faith and he took Mary as his wife and he raised the child as his own.
We read in Luke 2:7, “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
We know from Luke 2:1-6 that Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem to be counted and while they were there, she had the child in the manger in the stable with the animals (Luke 2:7b).
We should also note that the Holy child was laid in a box that was used as a feed trough…a manger.
From the beginning Jesus was not given special treatment. Mary and Joseph needed shelter and they accepted what was available. It seems a little ironic that while God could have made it possible for Mary and Joseph to have a room, God did not intervene. I have to think that God was sending a message that said His son was born under humble circumstances.
In that region more than likely there would have been sheep, donkeys, cattle, maybe oxen and possibly even a camel or two there when Jesus was born. The baby probably had fresh hay in the manger but everywhere else in the room it would have been business as usual.
The point is, Jesus was not given special treatment just because He was the Son of God.
Mary and Joseph took what shelter that was available and they were probably grateful for it.
Christ came and lived just like other people lived. He didn’t have any special treatment. Somehow that makes me feel like He lived like I live.
Like, Jesus gets it. He understands what it’s like to make do with what you have available.
There a saying…we do the best we can do with what we had at the time.
That’s exactly what Mary and her boy did that night. Joseph found a place where they would have a roof over their heads and that was the best they could do with what they had at the time.
I believe they were grateful for it and they knew they were blessed!
Today’s Spiritual Practice: Gratitude
Be grateful and do the best you can do with your circumstances.
In God, Deborah