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. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 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. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
In the 1970s, Christmas Trees took on a new theme. Sort of a let's go on a hayride and drink out of mason jar look. Almost like a picnic. This was also the era Americans politely said to you, "Are you a Christian?" And it was perfectly acceptable to reply, "Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist." "Church of Christ, Jehovah's Witness, Pentecostal." And usually you'd get a smile and a nod back. Thank you, you've pegged you for me.
We were all Christian. And the denominations were reading the Bible. My Step-Grandfather Tate was an Episcopalian Priest and he was dire about the acceptance of divorce in the Episcopalian Denomination meetings - he said it would run down the country. I thought that was a Bit harsh. However the first thing people argued about in Christian circles was if Mary was really a virgin. Looking back on that, that was a little rude wasn't it. Bit presumptive.
We certainly forgot a few things. And don't we continue to forget the real picture of Jesus' birth.
This is God's Son. God conquered death.
We often ask our friend's parents - So wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
Angels sang - so this was Holy...
No. This was gritty saddle travel. In a place where the people did not invite them to sleep in beds. A Pregnant Woman placed on a plodding animal. Each 80 mile had a man walking beside a very pregnant woman. First time birth, a virgin birth, in a non-sterile environment.
Talk surrounded them.
Who is this?
This could very well have been Mary, Mother of God.
Unless. Compassion came from the uninformed. The Victim. The old duffer, we like to think. (We really think God would place His Son with an infirm, aged man - not a Biblical idea really. The Bible really states Jesus had siblings and Mary was their mother.)
Instead of a Palace: Immanuel - God with us - even explained how ~
Isaiah 7 (The passage God tells Ahaz “Ask a sign of the Lord your God Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel)
21 In that day a man will keep alive a young cow and two sheep, 22 and because of the abundance of milk that they give, he will eat curds, for everyone who is left in the land will eat curds and honey.
23 In that day every place where there used to be a thousand vines, worth a thousand shekels of silver, will become briers and thorns. 24 With bow and arrows a man will come there, for all the land will be briers and thorns. 25 And as for all the hills that used to be hoed with a hoe, you will not come there for fear of briers and thorns, but they will become a place where cattle are let loose and where sheep tread.
Rare 1698 view of Bethlehem by Dutch artist Cornelius de Bruijin
The Works of God. Involve:
Sometimes Camouflaged in the ordinary involving eyes of faith. Unless they Sing Choirs of Angels.
Involving ordinary people. Who are. Bewildered. Afraid. Pressured and unbelieved by the world. And called.
The Bible is Far from saccharin sweet.
Why wouldn't God make life easy?
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Remember with me, even Mary was sometimes in disagreement with Jesus. Meaning even Mary, the Mother of God, requires a Savior.
The Bible tells us ~
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone."
The Real Christmas Story -
1 Corinthians 1
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26a worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written,
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”