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Twas the Night Before...

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David). Luke 2:4

We often read a cute Christmas poem about the night before Christmas. In the house, no one was stirring, not even a mouse. The kids snuggled in beds hoping Santa would come soon. Everything in the house was prepared. The tree was up, the stockings were hung, and everyone was resting in great anticipation. It is fun to create the excitement of Christmas Eve. The joy of the morning surprise and the kindness of Santa.

For Mary and Joseph, it may have been a different story. I remember all too well the night before my son was born. Labor pains started the evening before. My excitement was mixed with concern because my husband wasn’t home from work yet and even though the excitement of having a child was great, there were moments of fear of the unknown. Oh, I knew it would be worth it all, but things happen. Would he be healthy, would I be ok, how long would this take?

Mary and Joseph were far from home. They traveled days to reach their destination. I don’t know if they had been in Bethlehem for a while or had just arrived. Either way, it wasn’t home, and it certainly wasn’t a private place. I really don’t even know if people were around, but the animals were. Jesus was born in a stable, probably a cave, where the animals were kept, and his bed (a manger) was a feeding trough for those animals. It was a humble beginning and even though the excitement may have been mixed with some concern, I am sure the excitement and anticipation was even greater than the Christmas Eve poem depicts. You see, Mary and Joseph had prepared their house (such as it was) too. They listened and obeyed. They waited and continued to obey. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but they knew the voice of the Lord and trusted in His promise.

And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1:31-33

The morning surprise was joyous! The Savior of the world was born, and his love and kindness far exceeds all that we can ask or think!

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”

December 25 Pastor Julia Scott


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