December 16 - Jesus' Birth

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December 16 - Jesus' Birth - Luke 2:1-7

I suppose it seems a little early for this part of the story to be told, but in all honesty there is so much that happens after the actual birth of Christ! There are only 8 days between now and Christmas Day and this infant child has to meet a whole bunch of people.

Today the first two people on earth to meet God the Savior as an infant child were Mary and Joseph. We've met both of them in the last few days: Joseph, an honorable man, yet it took an angel to assure him of his place in the story and Mary, a young girl whose life was lived so that she could completely allow the Holy Spirit to work within her life! When the angel told her what was happening, she didn't question the reality of it, she simply said "I am the Lord's servant." (Luke 1:38)

I don't know if I would be that acquiescent - even to God! I want to be. I want every fiber of my being to yearn only after him and to allow His will to take precedence in my life. But, sometimes I forget what that is supposed to look like and I exert my will over everything around me.

How many of us believe that by allowing God to have His way in our lives, means that our lives should be better or easier? Surely if we are following God and allowing Him to work, it just shouldn't be that difficult, should it?

Well, Mary discovered that it wasn't that easy. She returned from Elizabeth's home to find that Joseph was prepared to take her in as his wife. That meant that she spent the next six months learning how to live with a man she barely knew and making the house into a home for a family that was about to be enlarged.

When Max and I got married, we barely knew each other. We knew a lot about each other - we had talked for untold hours on the telephone, yet we were still strangers in many ways. We loved each other deeply and that allowed us to get through the strangeness of living with someone new, but it definitely took longer than a year for us to be completely comfortable in the marriage. I can't imagine having been pregnant through that time and knowing that I had to introduce a child to our lives. But, this is what Mary was supposed to do.

And then, as the time grew closer for Mary to actually give birth, Caesar Augustus decided that he wanted a census. And this census wasn't about where you lived now - it was about where your historical family was from. Since Bethlehem was the city of David and both Mary and Joseph came from the historical line of David, they needed to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for this census.

Bearing the Son of God offered Mary no small measure of pain. God asked her to do something amazing and then, the world made it difficult for her to achieve the final goal. Traveling while expecting a child wasn't going to be easy, but they went ahead. I don't know of the two of them realized that they were fulfilling prophecy: "But, you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times (or from days of eternity)." (Micah 5:2)

Mary gave birth to the Son of God, who came to the earth holding royal earthly lineage and having absolutely nothing of earthly wealth.