A Christmas Eve Celebration

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We know the manger scene by heart.

Baby Jesus snuggles in a straw-filled manger, and on either side hover Mary and Joseph, looking down on him in adoration. The three wise men hold their gifts to offer to the newborn king, and overhead, an angel blesses those who have gathered for the celebration.

Yet, do we remember the fear Mary must have felt when she became pregnant outside of marriage? Or Joseph’s doubt and decision to divorce her?

The presence of a visiting angel is what made the difference. He appeared to Joseph in a dream, and the whole story changed in Joseph’s mind. The Christmas story played out as we know it, and the world was changed forever.

Matthew 1:18-25 reveals the beauty of the events:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way.

“When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.

“But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son.

“And he called his name Jesus.”

When we feel doubt in God’s will as it plays out in our lives, we can’t afford to take matters into our own hands. We need to listen to God. He comes to us in the small moments and reassures us his will is being done through our obedience to him.

Jesus is our reason for celebrating the Christmas season. Let’s include him in everything we do.

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Code: FGO.I.05.17a.vp.esv

Originally Published: 12-24-17

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