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"St Joseph Seeks a Lodging in Bethlehem" by Tissot
So often as we hustle about finishing the last minute tasks before Christmas, we lose sight of the real reason we are celebrating.  

Christmas has become very commercialized over the years, with me falling to some of it, I must admit. The decorations, gifts, cookie making, dinner. . . there is a lot that can get in the way of the primary reason for the season. Even this very expression has been commercialized.

But I ask that you take time to reflect on that reason, Jesus Christ. Though December 25th may not have been His exact birthday, we can still celebrate His joyous birth on this day as it has been for many generations. (actually since the mid-fourth century, biblicalarchaeology.org).

Although details have been added to the story over the years based on historical references, and those details may be unsubstantiated, the fundamental story is true based on The Word of The Lord. I am thankful that we freely have access to His Word, The Bible. There are some countries where people could actually die if they possess one.

Since tonight is December 24th, Christmas Eve, I find myself thinking about Mary & Joseph travelling to Bethlehem to obey the decree from Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1). Whether she was riding a donkey or not specifically stated in the Bible, but we do know that they went to Bethlehem and that at some point after she arrived she gave birth to Jesus. However, tonight I'm thinking about this long journey they took and how uncomfortable she must have been, being pregnant. I'm also thinking about how she and Joseph may have felt when they learned there was no room for them at the inn (Luke 2:7). Both of my children were born in a hospital, but I have friends that have had home births. Imagine not having a "room" and having to place your newborn child "in a manger".

How difficult was it for her? We will not know, but I am thankful that The Lord God sent His son to us and that we can celebrate His birth in just a few hours. Thank you, Lord, for your love for me.

Merry Christmas to all of you and I pray that you remember the true reason for Christmas and that you will share it will your families and friends. Take care.

 
 
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Annunciation, Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1898
"Then the angel said to her,
'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
And behold, you will conceive in your womb & bring forth a Son,
and shall call His name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest;
and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
And of His kingdom there will be no end'."
Luke 1:30-33
Imagine being a young teenage girl, full of life and anticipating her marriage to her betrothed. When Gabriel came to her and announced this message, the amount of thoughts and emotions that went through her mind must have been overwhelming. "How could this be?" "Is this real?" "I know the prophecies foretold but is it really possible that I am she?" The questions that swirled in her head must have made her gasp.

But what an incredible moment. She was placed, at that moment, in a reality not experienced by any other, before or since. Her son Jesus would be the Savior for all that accepted Him and sit at the "right hand of God". We may wonder, could she have said "no". I believe that God knew she would not and that she was there, at that time and moment, to have this blessing bestowed upon her, and ultimately us. And though Mary was a mere mortal, God was able to send His Son to us through her. She was not immortalized, but will forever be remembered for her love and commitment to God. She did as she was instructed by God. Would you? Will you?

Just some thoughts as Christmas approaches.
 
 
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and will call him Immanuel."
Isaiah 7:14