There are many man-made traditions that surround this holiday that we call Christmas. I watch as my wife stresses over gifts for family members, while thinking how differently things must have been on that first Christmas day. Isaiah stated, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” This statement came hundreds of years before the actual birth of Jesus took place. God’s redemptive plan for mankind would come as a baby, not the warrior king that some were looking for.
Bethlehem was a busy place, with everyone coming in to be registered for the census that had been decreed by Caesar Augustus. This time of the year reminds me how busy it must have been, with the heavier traffic and longer lines in stores. Mary and Joseph could not find a place to stay, since everything was already booked up. I remember going through a remote town in Ohio once, thinking that we would have no trouble finding a place to stay, only to learn that a few sports events had everything booked up for miles.
Travel was much more difficult in those days, and Mary was at the end of her pregnancy. Luke writes, “So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
It is interesting that the Savior of the world was born, and many were so caught up in the hustle and bustle that they did not even realize it. Would that be our testimony today?
Now I will admit that those shepherds had a messenger that others may not have had. Luke goes on to say; “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: You will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.’” Can you imagine this moment!
As you wrap up your shopping for those last gifts, or prepare for the friends and family that will visit your home, be careful not to set yourself up for the greatest letdown of Christmas: the fact that Christmas Day will come and go quickly. For those that will have invested so much into a day, instead of focusing on the one that made the day possible, it will seem somewhat of a waste. Christmas Day is on Sunday. I would encourage each of you to plan to attend a church on Sunday morning. If you are looking for a church to attend, Bermuda Baptist will hold a Christmas Eve service on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., and a Christmas Day service at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Remember, Jesus came for you and I. Let’s give Him the praise and honor that He is due. Merry Christmas!