I’ve heard the Christmas story and celebrated the birth of Christ my whole life. Every Christmas we put up a nativity in the living room as part of our celebration. But this year, through sermons and testimonies and readings, I have come to appreciate the Christmas story in a new way, with a new perspective.
Here’s a sermon that Pastor Brooks preached a few weeks ago that got me started. He went through II Chronicles 28 and Isaiah 7-9 and gave the backstory of the prophecy of a Savior. At that time, the people were misplaced, distraught, and grieving over the loss of many men and children who had been killed during a time of captivity. It was at this low point, that God told Isaiah to tell His people that a baby was to be born who would be their “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), their “Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14) – God WITH us! He had not left them alone.
I also saw the perspective of what Mary and Joseph went through. It took a great deal of faith on Joseph’s part to trust God (and Mary) when his betrothed announced that she was pregnant and she hadn’t done anything wrong. It took faith on Mary’s part, as she was young, scared, and had all kinds of changes happening to her body that she was unfamiliar with, not to mention the scorn the town must have placed on her for being pregnant and unwed.
It must have been hard to travel on the back of a donkey being at full-term in her pregnancy. I’m sure she felt every bump along the long, dry road.
And then, there must have been feelings of doubt and unbelief and fear as they could not find a room to sleep in in Bethlehem, but were instead forced to nestle down with the stinky, dirty, overcrowded animals in the inn’s stable. Joseph must have thought, “Don’t you understand?! My wife is carrying the Messiah! She’s 9 months pregnant, and you can’t find a few square feet for her to rest?!” But instead, he stayed with her and coached her through the pain of contractions and the stench of manure to bring forth the perfect Christ-child, Jesus. It took faith from both of them to trust in this baby as their Savior.
And then this baby Jesus didn’t stay a cute little baby in a manger. He grew to be a man, a perfect, sinless man, who would die for the sins of mankind, my sins, on a cruel and crude cross. Praise Him! Thank Him! And when you look at your nativity set, remember the journey His earthly parents went through, and the path He took from that humble stable to the humiliating cross, and know that He had you in mind the whole time. Trust Him! Love Him! For He did not stay dead. He arose! And lives triumphantly in heaven, preparing a place for each of us. And it will not be a humble stable, but palaces of grandeur, glorifying the God of the Universe!