Curious and Joyful…the story of Mary

Traveling isn’t recommended when you’re nine months pregnant. The airlines won’t take you. Your doctors will discourage it, and who would want to be that far away from medical care when your first contraction could be less than a minute away?

Yet, there Mary was traveling 85 miles side-saddle on the back of a donkey, when her due date could have been yesterday. What were her thoughts on the way to Bethlehem?

To say that she was experiencing some physical discomfort is probably an understatement. Every rut the donkey stumbled into drove the Christ-child ever closer to leaving the womb and entering the world.

She probably felt fear. Why else would the angel have told her, “Do not be afraid.” Perhaps she was fearful of new surroundings, new friends, and <Ouch! > those new contractions!

She certainly   felt joy.  Although there were no ultrasounds she already knew the sex of the baby. The angel had said He would be a boy!

She probably was curious. The angel had said that her Son would be great and would reign over an unending kingdom (Luke 1:33). What exactly did that mean? Joseph’s angelic courier said their Son would  “save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). How could that be? Who was this baby growing inside her?

Perhaps you, like Mary, find yourself curious this Christmas.  Just who was Jesus Christ anyway? Why does the whole world stop to celebrate His birth? Can I encourage you to pick up your Bible and discover for yourself?

You’ll find his birth in Luke chapter two, but from there jump forward one book to the Gospel of John. As you read about His life don’t be afraid, for just like Mary your curiosity will be satisfied and your joy will be full.

Jesus was right on time

I nearly missed the birth of our 4th child. Before you are too critical, please know that the supervising nurse had advised me to slip out and get some lunch – she thought it would be a long time. It wasn’t.  The fast-food service wasn’t all that fast, but my wife’s labor was, fortunately I got back just in time. Typically parents don’t have a lot to say about the day their child arrives.

I’m sure it was inconvenient for Joseph to head to Bethlehem in the final trimester of Mary’s pregnancy. But God had a specific time for the birth of Jesus. Paul recorded this truth for us in his letter to the Galatians,

3Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Galatians 4:3-5).

The word fullness is used elsewhere to describe the 12 baskets that were left over at the feeding of the five thousand (Mark 6:43). They were full baskets – they weren’t half empty. When describing time it means the “end of an appointed time.” That night in Bethlehem it was long enough and Jesus came. The word communicates that even in the timing God was in complete control.

Why was the sending forth of the Son so important? Because we were in bondage to the world (4:3). The Greek grammar communicates that our bondage was ongoing, thorough and complete. It further reveals that it is something that happened to us. One translator used the word “kidnapped.” We had been kidnapped by the world. So at “just the right time” Jesus came to buy us out of our bondage and to set us free.

So it was that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered (Luke 2:6).

So glad I didn’t miss the birth of my son.

Praying this season you don’t miss the reason for the birth of His (John 3:16-17).