Once again my thoughts are turned to Christmas. Not the trappings of our modern Christmas, but that first Christmas so long ago.
Mary was such a young girl to have made such a strong decision for God! And what did it cost her? Her family, neighbors, village, and even Joseph probably considered her a harlot. At least to begin with. She was ostracized, an outcast, if not physically, surely by people's words and actions. Mary was not perfect, she was a sinner just like us, but she made a life changing decision to obey God.
Joseph legally could have had Mary stoned for becoming pregnant out of wedlock. Instead, he obeyed God and accepted her as his wife. He took care of her and did not have relations with her until after Jesus was born. Imagine how he must have felt to know that God had chosen him to raise God's own Son? I am sure there was some fear and trepidation at the thought of that!
Although Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, God arranged for them to travel to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. Mary was pregnant, ready to deliver Jesus, and made a hard journey of several days. Most doctors of our time would not allow that.
Jesus was born in a BARN! Barns STINK and are VERY DIRTY!! Have you ever tried mucking out a stall? And the manger was a feeding trough! But that's all that was available for Jesus, God's Son.
The angel, and then the heavenly host, appeared to the shepherds in their fields at night. When I think further on this I realize that shepherds were some of the lowest of the low. Thinking further, wasn't Jesus the great shepherd? Didn't He call us His sheep? By the way, I know from personal experience that sheep are VERY DUMB!! Also, isn't Jesus called the Lamb of God? Makes me wonder... By the way, what would I have done if angels unexpectedly appeared to me at night? I probably would have been frozen in fear!
The wise men who came and worshipped Jesus came from the east. From very far away. They were not of His own people. But they were the ones who brought Him great gifts, and their belief in Him.
Satan tried to get rid of Jesus from the very beginning of His earthly life. Didn't Herod, the king, have all the baby boys under two years old who were in and around Bethlehem killed? Think of the great cry of the people that was heard that night as Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus fled to Egypt!
God's plan for the salvation of man came long before the birth of His Son Jesus. However, history changed forever on that lonely night in Bethlehem, and I am so glad it did!
I am sure you can come up with more thoughts for reflection about that first Christmas. My family and I hope that the true meaning of Christmas becomes the central part of your Christmas season this year!