Friday, December 22, 2017

God’s Gift to You

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

They say that timing is everything. Well, the timing couldn’t have been worse for Joseph and Mary. The Roman Emperor Octavian, Caesar Augustus, sent out a registration and tax decree while Mary was pregnant. If they were Romans, they could have filled out the forms in Nazareth where they lived. But they were Jews. Jews registered in the city of their birth. So, Joseph and Mary made the seventy-mile trip when Mary was at full term. And they got to Bethlehem just in time, or “in the fullness of time,” as Paul said in Galatians 4.4.

It seems that Joseph and Mary just couldn’t catch a break. When they got to Bethlehem, the town was full of people, perhaps other Jews who had also gone there to register. There wasn’t a single, rentable room in the entire city. They had to settle for a stable.

The time came, and the Baby arrived. A “king of the Jews” (as the Magi called Him) was born to an unwed couple, in an insignificant village, and placed in a feeding trough. Hardly what you would expect of a King. They didn’t get much pity either as word soon spread that the Child was illegitimate.

The “Child” and “Son,” foretold by the prophet Isaiah, tiptoed quietly into humanity. The “wonderful Counselor” was wrapped in swaddling clothes. The “mighty God” was laid in a manger. The “everlasting Father” took on flesh. The “prince of Peace” entered a sin-sick, unpeaceful world (adapted from Isaiah 9.6). 

What a gift! Jesus, the Lamb of God, given to take away the sin of the world. Jesus was sacrificed on a cross to free us from sin’s bondage. No longer slaves to sin, we have peace with God [Romans 5.1]. With redeemed hearts we can now join our voices with the Apostle Paul and say, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” [2 Corinthians 9.15]. 

Merry Christmas, one and all!

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2.1-7

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