An Unusual Delivery
Mary must have been excited and anxious to meet her holy child. One is left to speculate about how often Mary's thoughts turned to her son. For her, there was no question about whether she would have a girl or a boy. Gabriel had given the details concerning this child including his name. Mary's thoughts must have been filled with daydreams of tiny hands, infant cries, and the caress of a tender face. God had a unique call on her life, and she began to plan and rehearse how she would steward this privilege, she received news that changed everything. Caesar Augustus' decree robbed her of the support of her family and friends. She and Joseph would travel almost eighty-five miles to Bethlehem because Joseph belonged to the house and lineage of David. Mary is in her last trimester, and she must have been terribly uncomfortable as she made her way along the dusty road. By the time they reach Bethlehem, the crowds had eliminated all available housing. Joseph only manages to secure a stable for their lodging, and when she went into labor, she must have been unsettled to realize that she would give birth to the promised king in a stable. How could these lowly and lonely circumstances surround the birth of the Messiah? Mary gave birth to her firstborn son in a stable and laid the child in a manger.
An Unusual Visit
Mary may have expected Jesus' delivery to be widely celebrated like a coronation. While Mary is enjoying her first tender moments with her son, a group of shepherds gathered in the fields for the night. They would take turns during the watches but this night would not be any other night in all of human history. Heavy eyes and habits have them going through their routine when the night sky is suddenly shattered by an angel of the Lord. Divine light surrounds the angel which blinds these shepherds. Fear grips these shepherds as they find themselves surrounded by the glory of the Lord. The angel tells the shepherds that there is no need to fear because this is a day of great joy for a savior is born. The shepherds are given a sign to confirm the message; a baby is in swaddling clothes, and it is lying in a manger. Before the shepherds can consider the sign, they are flooded by the heavenly host that join in a chorus proclaiming glory and peace. With the angels’ hymn still echoing in their ears, they decide that they must hurry and make their way to Bethlehem. The search is successful, and they found Mary, Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. Imagine their words and their faces as they explain to these new parents the unexpected news that God had shared with them in such an amazing way. Everyone that heard the words of the shepherds wondered what to make of all this supernatural activity, but Mary had these things etched in her memory, as she pondered every facet. Mary must have had so many questions, concerns, and considerations about Jesus. The shepherds return to the fields filled with worship for all they had seen and heard. Isn’t it interesting that when God chose to announce the birth of the Messiah to the world, he didn’t inform the wealthy political leaders of the day? Instead, God chose to tell shepherds that were tending their flocks nearby. It is possible that the sheep being tending were the ones that were used in temple sacrifices and they were the first to visit the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Things To Consider:
- How do you think Mary felt about the registration?
- Why do we struggle to believe God when challenges arise?
- Why are Luke's details important?
- Why is Bethlehem important?
- Why is David important?
- How are you encouraged by the shepherds?
- Why did God have to save?
- How can one be at peace with God?
- Are you in haste to obey the Lord?
- Do you take time to treasure and ponder God's work around you? Why or why not?
- Do you tell others about what God has done?