Today, Christians all over the world celebrate the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of the world. We have been shopping, going to parties and celebrations, and fighting the crowded streets and shops. But let us not forget what actually happened over 2,000 years ago.
What a journey! Caesar Augustus issued a decree that the known world should be registered. In other words, he ordered a census. Joseph had to take Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem because each person had to return to his ancestral home to register. The trip would have taken three to seven days, but with Mary being near the time of Jesus’ birth, the long walk was certainly very difficult. She could have easily gone into labor during the trip. But God provided for her safety and for the safety of her Child.
Arriving in Bethlehem, Joseph was unable to find a suitable place to stay. No room at the “inn.” No guest room. Nothing. The town of several hundred was swollen with others who had come to register, just like Joseph. But someone must have noticed the situation Mary was in offered a stable — a walled area or cave for protection for animals. This is where the King of kings was born.
After Jesus was born, Mary swaddled Him and laid Him in an animal feed trough. It was the only bed available. This is God’s Son! But consider these events. God used the pagan ruler of known Greco-Roman world to set in place the conditions to fulfill Messianic prophecy about the Messiah. Today, those prophecies stand fulfilled. And the protective hands of God were on Mary as she journeyed with Joseph to Bethlehem. Whatever discomforts, pains, or swelling she experienced, God saw that she made it to Bethlehem. This trip was not safe, but God also protected the family from robbers and criminals along the journey.
God did all of this for us! Today we celebrate the greatest gift ever given!
Joseph and Mary were totally obedient, trusting the God would care for them. They were willing to be used by God to provide the Greatest Gift to the world: Salvation through the Christ-child.
As you celebrate Christmas with loved ones, or if you are celebrating alone, remember that Jesus is the reason we celebrate. God came to us in human flesh to become a perfect sacrifice for our sin and to defeat death so that we can have eternal life with Him.