…the lonely, the broken, the forgotten.
This is a reminder that the pleasant Hallmark movie scenes don’t reflect the lives of most people. Tensions are not resolved in two hours. Relationships are strained or broken.
Over the next couple weeks the focus will be on Christmas for the non-spotlight people. Maybe you fit one of these categories. May the story of God’s love in sending his Son be your hope, light in the midst of darkness.
No one is beyond the reach of the birth of a baby in Bethlehem. That baby comes into a world filled with outsiders. Both mother and father were from Nazareth. As a later disciple sneered, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” With God, the answer is “Absolutely!”
An insignificant young woman
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. (Luke 1:26-38 NLT)
An unknown carpenter
This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25 NLT)
And then the smelly shepherds near Bethlehem. Not a very likely reception for the King. Yet each one received the news and presence of Jesus with humble joy. They had been waiting for God’s salvation, but they didn’t know when, how, who…only the promise that God’s salvation was near.
Stay tuned for more about who Christmas is about and who Christmas is for…