“But while he (Joseph) thought about these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us.'”
Does this amaze you as much as it does me? Seven hundred years before Joseph would struggle with trusting the fidelity of Mary, his betrothed love – SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS(!) – Isaiah prophesied these very same words which the angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph in an effort to subdue his fears. To me, witnessing the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation like this strengthens and fortifies my faith. God’s Word is what calmed Joseph down and gave him the faith to believe the impossible.
Oh, that it would do the same for us.
We cherish our Christmas traditions.
We cherish our Christmas stories that stir up childhood memories of wonder and awe.
But, once again, our tendency is to put these sweet little stories in that proverbial golden box of religion.
Yikes! The magnitude of what happened in that lowly stable so long ago can easily be swept under the rug of familiarity, IF we only consider our precious memories and traditions. I know I am guilty of this.
As I thought about this scripture out of Matthew, the Lord reminded me of one of my favorite verses: “So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth. It shall not return to Me void (empty, without fruit), but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
Do you see what God is showing us? Christmas is not just a fabulously fun day of family, food and presents. It is more than our pageants of retelling, more than our carols proclaiming. Yes, if I may be so bold, Christmas is even more than our beautiful, solemn Christmas Eve candlelight services. Why? Because these things put Christmas in a container that we can comprehend. They limit the power and majesty and glory of this amazing event which changed the world, UNLESS we consider the details which brought it to pass.
Christmas is the accomplishment of God’s Word – His promise of deliverance and redemption!
God spoke His Word, and there was Light.
God spoke His Word, and man was created in His own image.
God spoke His Word, and His only Son came to earth to dwell among us that the love of God might be revealed in us.
Let’s pray for one another as we walk through these days of Christmas celebrations. Enjoy the festivities, the celebrations – yes, the traditions. But…but take time to pause and consider the wonder of it all.
Immanuel, God with us.
And they called His name Jesus.
Father, We love You, yes, we adore You. Help us to take steps of maturing our faith by understanding ALL of Your Word, not just the part that someone spoon-feeds us. We want more, Lord. We want to truly understand the height and the depth and the width of Your love. We want to truly understand just how amazing our salvation is and the process with which it came about. Open our eyes that we might see, our ears that we might hear how rich our faith is – how substantial and concrete the Scripture is. Take our hands and walk with us through the celebration of Christmas. Thank You, Lord.