I’ve never given birth. I know many who have. In the final stages of pregnancy, women typically are not exactly “glowing” anymore. The cute little baby bump has given way to swelling, numbness, urgency to urinate and various other inconveniences. This is probably not the time to be asked if you want to take a seventy plus mile trip on the back of a donkey. I say that to say this – that’s exactly what Mary, the mother of Jesus, had to do. Joseph was from Bethlehem and it was declared at the time of the Savior’s birth that a census must be taken. Everyone had to return to their ancestral towns to register. I just wonder who all knew that seven hundred years prior to this event, the prophet Micah spoke this about Jesus? But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf (Micah 5:2 NLT). Wow! The earth was getting ready to see this promise fulfilled at this very time!
We, looking backwards, see God putting all the pieces in place. Mary and Joseph were probably not thinking that they were “starring” in the beginning stages of the greatest story to ever be told on planet earth. Can you imagine? Dirt roads, no indoor plumbing, animal “smells” etc. Oh, and you’re about to give birth! This doesn’t sound like the birth of a King. But oh how the heavens must have been roaring! The animals all around had an instinct that they were traveling with precious cargo. The enemy was setting up ambushes. Labor pains were probably setting in. Mary had to have been absolutely exhausted and overwhelmed. Yes, this was God’s perfect plan. The baby she was carrying in turmoil would someday take his horrific journey carrying a cross to bear the sin of the world! Heaven and earth were colliding and the mediator was kicking to get out of a human abdomen! What a God!
Sometimes life just doesn’t look like what we have pictured in our minds. Our brains play out a “fairytale” and the world throws us real and raw reality. This is the fundamental reason for Christmas. We don’t live in Wonderland and we, as humans, do not have the stamina in us to make it in this broken world. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew this and prepared the way. This baby born to a virgin was more than just a story to tell for generations to come. He IS the very One Isaiah spoke of many years before. For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 NLT). Did you catch that? He’s given to us! He’s given to us to be all of the requirements it takes to live in this harsh reality that we call earth. Let that scripture sink in. He IS all of those things 24/7. He’s exactly what you need when you need it. God had the perfect plan for Christmas! We don’t need another store-bought item to bring joy. It never could and it never will. God’s gift to humanity is everlasting and brings the hope that this dying world so desperately needs.
This season, I encourage you while you’re doing all the running around trying to find “the perfect gift”, to stop and reflect on the most holy night in history. Mary, in pain and nowhere to properly rest, Joseph in all of his internal conflict, yet obedient to the Lord, animals roaming to and fro etc. This is real life. This was hard. Our life is hard sometimes. God Himself came into a mess! He’s not scared of yours. He came with the security our hearts need. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NLT) What a God! What a promise! What a story! Merry Christmas!
Today’s writer is Brandi Crowe. A hairdresser for over 25 years, she is currently the owner of Brandi Crowe salon in Buford, GA. She loves hiking, a good cup of coffee, and spending time with family and friends. Brandi lives in a custom farmhouse with her husband Robby and cat Harold.