Since it’s Christmas Eve, and I’m a Christian, I feel that it’s only right that I give you an update on the Jesus Shed that Jay has been building. Tomorrow we will celebrate the birth of our Saviour by being materialistic and teaching our children that Christmas is all about waiting for a magic elf to leave us gifts just because we were “good.”
I try not to get religious or preachy on my blog, so if this offends you then please skip this post and come back on Friday when I’ll have pictures to show you of things that we made for Christmas this year. Even though I’m going to get all Jesus-y on you today doesn’t mean that we don’t celebrate Christmas by exchanging gifts. After all, the Wise Men gave gifts to the Newborn King when they arrived after his birth.
Let’s go back a few thousand years, shall we?
Imagine a young teenage woman of no consequence. She lived an ordinary life and followed her faith. She didn’t have a title nor did she have any claim to wealth. She worked very hard every day just trying to get by.
She was betrothed to a poor carpenter who also struggled as so many of their neighbors did in those days. Just ordinary people, living their lives and following their faith.
Then the young woman is visited by an angel of God, Gabriel, who tells her that she has found favor with God. Now, imagine that you’re suddenly confronted by this being that tells you he’s an angel of God and has been sent with a great blessing. That blessing? She is to “conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33)
Yikes! What?! Panic would set in, right? Not only has Mary never been with a man, but in those days even though she was betrothed to Joseph they weren’t yet married in the full sense that we know it. However, it was highly frowned upon if a woman was betrothed to one man and carrying another man’s child. That would bring great shame to Joseph and Mary was an honorable woman. But she was also a woman of great faith. More faith than most, and so she trusted in the Lord and of her own free will agreed to carry the baby who would be our Messiah.
Joseph is troubled by this whole situation and decides to divorce Mary. However, he is also visited by an angel who explains, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21). Joseph was a man of deep faith, so he did as the angel told him and took Mary into his home.
At this time the Emperor decided that they needed to do a census so that he would know just how many people he had dominion over (it was a power issue). In those days you had to travel back to the town from which your father came. Joseph was of the house and family of David, so he had to travel to Bethlehem to be counted.
When they arrived the town was filled to capacity because everybody else had traveled back for the census, too. Joseph had been unable to make reservations ahead of time. You see, back then ‘mobile service’ meant that you traveled there and hoped for service. It had nothing to do with cell phones. And ‘mobile service’ was not good. At this point Joseph would have been happy with a cheap one-star roach motel on the outskirts of town. Mary was very close to giving birth and they needed to find her someplace to do so quickly. Unfortunately, Motel 6 did NOT leave the light on, so they had to make do with a stable.
Now, Mary had been told that she was going to bring forth into the world the Son of the Most High. And here she was, in labor, in a stable. Little did she realize at the time that later on as Jesus was growing she could not use the phrase, “Were you born in a barn?” in order to get him to shut door behind him or clean his room.
So there he lay, in swaddling cloths, in a manger with hay. The Messiah. The Prince of Peace. The Son of God.
“And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
The miracle of Christmas is this: In that humble, dingy, smelly stable was born a man who would give sight to the blind, feed the hungry, make the lame leap, raise the living from the dead, turn water into wine, walk on water, and love all of us so much that he willingly died in order that we might live with him in his kingdom. And he did ALL of it with great love.
I want to leave you on this Christmas Eve with the image of Mary cradling her newborn infant. She has no idea what is in store for this child, but her faith tells her that he will do great things. Most of which she probably can’t even imagine.
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will calm the storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God.
The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb!
Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am.