Christmas is a fascinating time of year. Think about how it was in Galilee and Judea during the days of Herod the “butcher King” and Caesar Augustus, who proclaimed a census to take place over the Roman Empire.
A young girl who is barely child-bearing age is promised to her legal husband. Yet, due to customs Joseph is not permitted to have an intimate relationship we call “having sex”, because of a time-frame necessary to prove himself to the family of Mary and probably Mary, herself.
Mary appears to be in a direct line of impressive forebears as well as Joseph. The messiah, the anointed one with the anointing of God, was prophetically promised to be in the line of the great King David. Surely this would be no problem since Joseph was in the direct line of King David. Yet, the circumstances of the birth of Jesus, the long sought messiah of Israel, were otherwise.
Joseph was a God-honoring man and seemed to have a heart open to the things of God. He appeared to have a heart of mercy. When he found that his betrothed wife was pregnant, he surely was broken-hearted at first, yet did not want to see his seemingly “unfaithful” wife stoned. So, he devised a plan to quietly divorce her.
The girl, Mary, had encountered Gabriel, an archangel of God, who told her she was going to have a son who would deliver his people and be the redeemer of mankind. There are enough verified instances of angels even in our modern day experiences to no longer doubt the scripture about the veracity of angels. They are God’s messangers.
The interesting thing is that Mary readily accepted the angel’s pronouncement and tells him she is honored to be the Lord’s handmaiden. She probably didn’t understand all he meant when he told her she would conceive not through Joseph or any other man, but that the Spirit of God would impregnate her. However it is not hard for us to believe that she knew the moment it happened.
She follows the lead of the angel and goes into the hill country to check if he was correct that her aging cousin, Elizabeth, was already in her sixth month of pregnancy with the one who would become John, the baptizer. Perhaps Mary wanted to make sure she wasn’t going crazy. Sometimes we can believe something for the moment and question it in the distance of time.
As it turns out, the moment she crosses Elizabeth’s threshold the child in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy in the presence of the seed of God in Mary’s womb. Elizabeth gives her famous and awesome prophetic word concerning Jesus. Mary magnifies the Lord and her spirit rejoices in God her Savior.
She truly seemed to understand that she was the one who would be called blessed, because she, even in her lowly state, was to become the mother of the Messiah, who would have all the DNA necessary for a man, except the necessary chromosomes signifying a human father. Instead, he would be born of a virgin by the supernatural touch of our Loving Heavenly Father. The one to be born would be Emanuel, God with us, Redeemer of Mankind.
When you celebrate Christmas or even Hanukah this year, realize that you are celebrating the true Light of the world. The One who’s light never goes out. The one who promises that the darkness which seems at time overwhelming at all its levels of evil intent will never put out the light. The factor of light is that in it there is an absence of the “dark side”.
The Light of the world is still Jesus, the Creator who became a child with the blood of the Loving Heavenly Father; who came to die for the entire world’s sinful iniquity and to redeem mankind and make a covenant as a man with God Almighty in our behalf. Then he died and rose from the dead, conquering death itself.
That’s the God/man no longer a babe in a manger we celebrate on the fascinating day of Christmas.