Men, imagine walking 80 miles. Women, imagine being pregnant at nearly 9 months riding a donkey for 80 miles. 80 miles of hills, mountains, valleys, rocks, dirt…treacherous ground just to give a census in your hometown. No mail person delivering a census form to complete, but actually walking to your hometown 80 miles away to complete a census. Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth and had to travel to Bethlehem to give a census because that was their hometown.
While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus. Jesus was not born in a warm, comfortable hospital room. Nor was he born in the warmth of a room inside a home. Jesus was born outside, in a barn, and placed in a manger. Can you imagine walking 80 miles and then when it was time for your baby to be born, you couldn’t even find a room to have your baby? He was to be born and placed in a manger. God, who came to earth as a baby, wasn’t born in a palace where he had every right to be born. After all, this was God in flesh and he could have been born anywhere he chose. And he chose to be born in a barn.
“And then there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:8-20
As I get older, I become more aware of the true meaning of Christmas. Although December 25th may not actually be Jesus’ real birthday, Christians take this day to celebrate his birth and the hope that him living on this earth brings to each of us.
“….peace on earth to men on whom his favor rests.” My prayer to whoever is reading this is that peace, the kind of peace that only our Heavenly Father can provide, be with you. And if you are reading this and don’t have a personal relationship with Christ, may I suggest that you seek out this Father and Son, who I have asked to enter my life and who has provided a peace in my heart that I could never have been given otherwise. I don’t mean to sound “preachy”. That isn’t my point. I want you to have the most awesome Christmas gift ever. The gift of eternal life. As a Christian, the only way I believe anyone can achieve that is by asking Jesus to be their Savior. It’s quite simple when you think about what all you will receive. Just pray that Jesus will enter your life and ask for forgiveness. It’s an amazing and overwhelming moment. It’s your choice and one I think you will never regret.
May God bless each and every one of you this Christmas season.
Happy Birthday Jesus!