ONE MONTH TO GO
As I write this, it's just about a month before Christmas. This is a busy season in the church, and most of us have a full schedule of holiday activities at home in the month ahead. The month before Christmas can be a whirlwind for us. Just imagine what it must have been like for the parents-to-be of the Christ Child.
The Bible tells us about the angel's announcements to Mary and Joseph. The couple was betrothed to be married, but a shocking development threw their plans into disarray. Mary, still a virgin, was going to have a baby. By a miraculous act of God, she was carrying in her womb the Son of God. Joseph, at first understandably inclined to break off the betrothal, was instructed by God's angelic messenger to proceed with the marriage. He trustingly complied.
Did many of this couple's friends and relatives truly understand what was happening? Could any of their hometown acquaintances provide helpful counsel? Did anyone fully believe their incredible story, about Mary still being a virgin, yet very soon to give birth? Could any of their neighbors in Nazareth believe, for a second, that the child soon to be born would be the one true God? How isolated and alone, with respect to human company, did Mary and Joseph feel in that month before the birth of their son?
In those days, the parents-to-be had all of the normal "first baby tasks" to accomplish. They were busy making their home and their lives ready for the challenging of caring for an infant. At the same time, they were sorting out, along with everyone else in their country, how the requirements of Caesar Augustus' census decree would apply to them. They were under imperial orders to very soon be travelling, seeking lodging, and registering in Joseph's ancestral village of Bethlehem. The timing was terrifying, with Mary soon to give birth.
In these anxious, stressful days, with just about a month to go before the baby was born, how were Mary and Joseph feeling about God? Were they completely at peace with what he had asked of them? Did they feel confident about their place in his plan? Or were they feeling apprehensive and unsettled?
It's good to take a few moments to reflect upon the lives of Jesus' earthly parents, in the month before Christmas. Take time, also, to reflect upon your own current life situation. Do you have supportive, caring human company in your life these days? Where does God fit in? How confident are about God's plan for your life? What does the miracle of the incarnation of the Son of God mean for the hardships and struggles that you may be going through? Can you really, truly believe and trust in God's love for you today? You can!
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might received adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
Enjoy these blessed days before Christmas! May the miracle of Christ's birth for you give you joy, and strengthen your faith.
Pastor Wayne Puls