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Beginning In Bethlehem

Luke 1:30-33 (World English Bible)

“The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and shall name him ‘Jesus.’ He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever. There will be no end to his Kingdom.”

What must it have been like for Mary? As a young Jewish woman, what would she tell her parents? What would she tell Joseph? The announcement would have come as a surprise. The long-awaited Christ, as spoken of through the prophets, would now come to earth through a young mother named Mary.

This year as we approach Christmas, our journey, in many ways is like that of Mary and Joseph. I am sure in our lives there have been some fears, a little anxiety, perhaps even doubt. Could it be those same emotions filled the mind of Mary and Joseph as they approached Bethlehem? Uncertain of the future, the road to Bethlehem must have felt long and treacherous as they slowly made their way.

I’m sure many worries filled their minds. However, their decisions were not based on their fears or their anxious hearts. Mary’s response to this sudden announcement was one of humility, trust, and surrender as she followed the word of the Lord.

Luke 1:38 (WEB)

“Behold, the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.”

Bethlehem did not provide the warm welcome they had hoped for. Finding no room in the inn, Mary gave birth to her Son and lay Him in a feeding trough (ref. Lk. 2:7). This year, as we approach the Holiday Season, we may find ourselves in less than ideal circumstances. Many this year will not experience Christmas as they usually do— surrounded by family, enjoying close friends, the blessings of a meal shared together, these are some of the things we look forward to each year. However, this year The Holiday Season may not feel as warm and welcoming as it has in years past.

I cannot help but to consider, how similar our approach to Christmas is like that of Mary and Joseph as they traveled to Bethlehem. As the New Year approaches there are still many uncertainties. The year will have it's fears, it's doubts, there will be difficult roads to travel that may be very long.

However, in all of this, I remain amazed by the thought of God stepping into our world through the humblest of circumstances. Dependent upon a young mother, who beginning in Bethlehem, delivered the One to deliver the world. Because of Bethlehem and the birth of the promised Christ, we know God has entered our world and we can be surrounded by His peace. Like Mary, may we, in humility, trust, and surrender follow the words of the Lord as we faithfully serve Him.


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