The Night Before Christmas
By Dot Bowen
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. Matthew 1:16-20 (NIV)
It had been a long night. Joseph had received some shocking news about his fiancée. Mary was pregnant, and the baby was not his. After tossing and turning, he finally fell asleep. While sleeping he heard a voice say, Do not be afraid. Was he dreaming? Or was this a message from God?
Joseph was a man with strong beliefs, and he was prepared to do what was right despite the pain it would cause should he divorce Mary. And even if he decided to take Mary as his bride, pain was inevitable since Mary was pregnant with a child that was not his. One thing was certain: if they were to marry, they had to leave town together. Not because they were running away, but because a Roman census was being taken, and by law, they would have to travel seventy miles to their birth city. Obviously planes, train, and automobiles were not an option. Can you imagine how difficult it would be for a nine-month-pregnant Mary to travel by donkey within in hours of giving birth to the Son of God? Any woman reading this is surely breaking into a cold sweat!
Mary and Joseph had to have been exhausted after the long, arduous trip to Bethlehem. Mary needed to rest while holiness was sleeping in her womb. It was the night Mary was to give birth to the Messiah, and no one was aware but God and the angels. As Mary cried out with labor pains, the angels prepared to cry out, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” Do you think the armies of Heaven were given notice the night God planned to fulfill His promise and send the Messiah into the world? All of Heaven was ready to rejoice.
I hope as you prepare for Christmas and go to sleep tonight, you will be reminded how much Jesus loves you. Jesus came into a sinful world to redeem us and provide a way for us to call God our Father. The reason we have hope is because Jesus came. The reason most missed the birth of the Messiah is because they weren’t looking. Let’s not get caught up in the busyness of every day life and miss what God is doing in our lives.
When the angels announced the birth of the Savior to the shepherds, it wasn’t enough for the shepherds to see the angels, they needed to see Jesus for themselves. And what’s amazing is Jesus wants to be seen! I pray you will see Jesus more clearly this Christmas than you have ever seen Him before. “Unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders and He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” And because of this, we have hope when everything around us seems hopeless.
Merry Christmas to you from Cup of Joy!
Further Reading Luke 1:30-31; Matthew 1:20; Isaiah 9:6