“See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel.” Matthew 1:23
Oh, what joy I felt when I first discovered I was pregnant! Yes there was joy at the prospect of a little baby conceived and birthed by two people who loved each other. Even though, the prospect of providing for this little bundle of joy was somewhat daunting. We were poor and struggling, but happy—and married.
Consider this—consider your own experience—then look at the experience of Mary and Joseph. They were engaged—not yet married—and she discovered she was pregnant. Now, you must understand that in their society in those days it was a law that a woman becoming pregnant without being married was considered a harlot and must be stoned to death. And, Joseph, knowing this didn’t want to disgrace her, so he decided to annul his relationship with her. Mary would be left without her loved one and unprotected—and what would’ve happened to the baby she was carrying?
Luke tells us in his gospel, “nothing is impossible with God” (1:37). Nothing is impossible? Even a birth when there have been no relations between a man and woman? Yes! An angel of the Lord came to Mary and quieted her spirit. He told her not to worry for she conceived by the Holy Spirit and she had been chosen to become the mother of the most High God, our Lord and Savior. She would be protected and suffer no disgrace.
Joseph wasn’t so sure about all this and wanted to save Mary’s reputation. But, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and instructed him not to be afraid, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:20) Joseph was faithful to God, and when he awoke he followed the angel’s instructions and married Mary.
Now, I’m sure tongues were waging then just as they would be today. But, you see, the Lord God has a plan. It is a plan for the salvation of the world. This was God’s heart-wrenching effort to come to us, making it possible for us to come to Him, and be approved to spend eternity with Him in glory. (John 3:16) What if? What if you or I had been asked to endure something that has the possible outcome of disaster, but God can use for good? Because remember all things are possible with God. Even a birth 2000 years ago to a mother and father with nothing but a stable and a manger in which to lay their new born baby.
So, today, God calls us to answer His call to come to that baby born long ago, who lived and died for the forgiveness of our sins. Perhaps, this could be your prayer this Christmas:
Dear Lord, make my body the stable
My heart the manger
May I invite Jesus to be born in me.
Nothing can happen that can be worse than not being ready when Jesus appears again to take those who believe home with Him.
Lord, thank You that anyone can come to You–and that includes me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen