An unexpected lesson from the birth of Jesus

It’s the time of year when we particularly focus on the story of Jesus’ birth. Though the greatest lesson we can grasp from this story is simply Jesus himself, have you ever noticed the example of his mother, Mary and Joseph his earthly father? Perhaps it is being a new mum myself, but I have never before stopped to consider the wonderful character they display. So I pray that you will indulge me for a few moments as we explore how we can apply this lesson in our own lives, hopefully leaving us even more in awe of Jesus our Saviour at this time of year.

Then the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and give bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.” – Luke 1:30-31

I know when I think of Mary, my mind usually drifts to the excitement in her assignment from God. What an unbelievable opportunity – to be the mother of God’s son.

But while her task was certainly unique and exciting (and probably a bit terrifying), and Mary is spoken of with great respect and admiration today, it wasn’t like that 2,000 years ago …

Most historians suggest Mary was between 15-16 years old when she gave birth to Jesus. Add in the gossip and chatter that emerged because she wasn’t married. In fact, when she told Joseph her fiancé, he didn’t believe her and wanted to hide her away (Matthew 1:19).  But an angel appeared to him and told him not to be afraid and confirmed what Mary had told him was true. (Matthew 1:20-21).

Then after them getting through that initial trial, she and Joseph had to travel hundreds of miles on foot, while in labour … and give birth in a stable! Ouch.

So, how, I hear you asking, does this relate to us today? Well, the bottom line is: living your life in accordance with God’s ways can at times seem hard, but it will be worth it. For God gave His Son Jesus that we can have the hope of living forever in a peaceful world.

So how do we stay encouraged when times get tough? Maybe the Christmas you’re facing isn’t quite as you’d hoped it would be. Well, look at what Mary sang:

“For He who is mighty has done great things for me … His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation” – Luke 1:49-50 Mary wasn’t focused on the here and now. Mary was focused on what she knew God would do for her and many generations to come. Let us be motivated in the same way. All this world has to offer will fade away. So don’t worry about today. Know that God never wastes an opportunity, and even if results don’t come until later, God’s purpose will prevail.

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The King born in a Manger

“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,

The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.

The stars in the bright sky looked down where He lay,

The little Lord Jesus, asleep in the hay.”

Many of us will remember singing this carol at school Nativity performances.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born in Bethlehem. Mary, a virgin, was chosen by God (Luke 1:26-33) to be his Mother, (verse 32, “and behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus”). Mary wrapped Jesus in cloths and laid Him in an animal feeding trough, a manger. (Luke 2:7)

As soon as Adam and Eve had sinned in the Garden of Eden, God had promised that He would provide a Saviour who would triumph over sin and death. (Genesis 3:15) Many centuries later the prophet Micah foretold the birth of Christ. “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel …” (Micah 5:2) This prophecy was fulfilled when Mary and Joseph, Mary’s future husband, had to travel to Bethlehem because Caesar Augustus ordered that all the Roman world should be registered. (Luke 2:1) And so Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem was crowded when Mary and Joseph arrived. There was no room at the inn. Tradition presumes that the inn was a hotel. The Greek word translated “inn” (kataluma) could be translated “guest room”. It may be that Jesus may not have been born in a stable but in a room beneath a house that was a night time shelter for the owner’s animals. Luke tells us that angels told shepherds of His birth and they ran to find him. “And the angel said to them, for unto you is born this day in the city of David (Bethlehem) a Saviour who is Christ the Lord … you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:11-12)

Why was the Son of the Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth, born in such poor and humble surroundings? This humble birth sends an amazing message to us all. The All Powerful God chose to send His Only Son Jesus, our Saviour and King, as one of us, to reveal God’s character and His plan of salvation. Jesus told Philip “… he who has seen me has seen the Father …” (John 14:9)

God has promised all who truly believe that Jesus was born to be our Saviour that He will send Jesus to this earth again. This time He will come, not as Son of Man, but as the triumphant Son of God. He will be the immortal king who will set up His Father’s everlasting Kingdom on earth and reign in righteousness. Those who have believed and followed the laws of God and the teaching of His Beloved Son will be granted everlasting life.

The Ammanford Christadelphians warmly invite everyone to join us at 6pm on Sunday 23rd December to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with a special celebration entitled, “Follow the Star”.

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