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For hundreds of years, Israel had been praying and hoping and waiting for their promised Messiah.
Mary and Joseph had also been waiting for Jesus’ arrival. First, the angel’s visit to Mary. Confusion and consternation. Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, who would deliver the prophet John the Baptist. The angel’s visit to Joseph. Preparing for the Baby Jesus. Emperor Augustus’ decree that they must travel to Bethlehem, their ancestral town, to be taxed. The two day journey by Joseph and Mary, heavy with child. No room in the inn. Bedding down with the animals. Birthing the Son of God in a barn!
We tend to think that following God means a smooth path before us, but the Bible actually presents something very different.
Mary and Joseph had difficulties to overcome, even though they had been hand-picked by God for this very special and unique task.
Jesus Himself, as the man He grew to be, promised His followers trouble in this world (John 16:33). He would give us peace. Romans 8:35-39 gave this encouragement to first century believers who were undergoing severe trials:
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39 NLT
Are you weighed down with troubles and sorrow? Maybe Christmas brings up fresh grief that almost seems too heavy to carry?
Let the One all this celebration is about help you carry it. He understands.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28 NLT
Categories: Christmas Story