In considering how to prepare for Christmas, what better place to look than the original cast of characters that surrounded the actual birth of Christ. How did they prepare for Christmas?
As I studied the various narratives in Scripture, a pattern seemed to emerge…a pattern that I might do well to emulate!
I found instances of pondering, proclaiming, praising, and simply pressing on.
Please join me as we look deeper into each of these aspects together over the next few days and see how perhaps we, too, can prepare our hearts for Christmas in the same way.
The news of Mary’s pregnancy reached Joseph before the angel’s assurances that she had not betrayed him. While the Bible isn’t clear whether he found out through her lips or someone else’s, we do know that he considered what to do…in other words, he mulled things over…he pondered. Surely, as the rumors swirled, her side of the story surfaced. "Could it be true?" he must have thought. "…this tale of a virgin giving birth to the Messiah?" He’d heard about it all his life, no doubt…but when this "story" intersected with his plans…his dreams…his life…would he believe it? He pondered how to respond.
The Shepherds were ordinary men with ordinary jobs having an ordinary day…and then they were confronted with the most extraordinary thing they had ever experienced in their lives! They talked it over and pondered what to do…"Let’s check it out!" they agreed. They couldn’t get it out of their minds…they had to see for themselves if this baby was for real.
She had believed in the promised Messiah her whole life. She watched in amazement as the promise unfolded into reality before her very eyes and within her own body! She experienced miracle after miracle: the angel’s announcement, Joseph’s belief, the physical proofs that she was indeed carrying a child (…when she alone knew the truth that she was a virgin.) There were others who heard the Good News as well! Shepherds actually left their flocks…their very livelihood…to come see the Savior when he was born. Just the fact that they found them was amazing in itself! No one knew where she and Joseph were…they didn’t even know they would be there themselves until it worked out at the last minute! Yet these men told her that a host of angels had filled the night sky proclaiming his birth and where they might find him! It was much to take in…yet she was experiencing it firsthand…so “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Let’s take the time to ponder the story of Christ’s birth. Yes, most of us know it by heart. In fact, we’ve heard it our whole lives! …but do we really believe it?
When the reality of Christ intersects our hopes, our dreams, and our lives…do we let it change us? …or do we simply continue on as if there was really no baby…no Savior…no promise…no hope. When we’ve been confronted with the extraordinary truth of the Good News, did it prompt us to seek Him? …or did we just go back to business as usual…hearing the story, but not believing it could do anything to change our ordinary existence.
Let’s prepare for Christmas by pondering what we’ve heard about Jesus. Do I really believe it’s true? Is my life different because of it? ...or is it simply a heartwarming story to be dutifully retold each Christmas?
...to be continued tomorrow