And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Thought for the Day: What are you doing Christmas Eve.
After finishing the school semester, it took me a few days to get myself (mentally) prepared for Christmas. Throughout these days, I have watched Christmas movies with my family, purchased gifts on Amazon (yes, the last of the gifts being delivered today), cleaned (especially the hardwood floor), and of course wrapped the pile of gifts preparing for Christmas morning. Oh, and then there is the true meaning of Christmas – did I miss it?
Throughout the Advent Season, our church has based the sermons and messages around the theme, “Not Another Made for TV Christmas Movie”. Pastor Jeremy Lawson led us through the series by making us think about how difficult things were with Mary and Joseph, when they received the word from the Angel that she would bear a child. Throughout these weeks, we have heard story after story from our pastor, from our speaker at our Women’s Dinner, and through our own thoughts that came. As we, yes we – ladies, spent time watching our Hallmark Channel movies where every ending was happy and well, every ending was predictable, did we lose sight of the true story? Did all this “happiness” lead us to forget what Mary must have gone through those months of pregnancy? Did we forget what Joseph must have thought when Mary told him she was pregnant? Did we forget how they had to travel when Mary was in her ninth month of pregnancy to Bethelem? Did we forget that when they arrived in Bethlehem that there was not a place for them to stay – when the baby came? Did we forget that after the birth and for several years, they were told by angels to go, move, leave, to protect the baby? Did we forget that Mary, 33 years later, would feel the unimaginable pain of experiencing her “baby” crucified on the cross? What thoughts to realize that not a single one of the Hallmark Channel movies came close to the agony this family experienced as they delivered and then protected Jesus through those many years.
But, they did! They brought this precious gift to us who was wrapped in swaddling clothes and was laid in a manger. He cooed, he cried, he laughed, he played, he grew, he learned the carpenter’s trade, he led, he called, he taught, and He died on the cross for us. Christmas began because of God’s love for you and for me. That gift led to Easter and the Resurrection. Jesus died on the cross for us but then HE AROSE bringing us eternal life and the beautiful and most special gift of knowing that God is our Father! He came to earth as a baby, He called His disciples and taught them (and us) how to spread the good news, He died on the cross for us, and He rose…He rose bringing us Eternal Life. Now that is a Hallmark ending…but it is not an ending, it is our beginning.
Prayer: Precious God! Merry Christmas Eve! Today is Yours, God, as every day should be. Help us think only of You today and help us be more thoughtful and thankful for Your precious gift. Happy Birthday, Jesus, Happy Birthday! Amen.