This week we consider 10 possibilities that could have ruined that first Christmas long ago, or Christmas today. And rejoice in God’s gracious and guiding hand, that they don’t ruin his plans.
3) What if Mary lost her virginity? Had this actually been the case, it would have been much more than a PR nightmare for Biblical prophecy.
God’s sinlessness as Savior depended not only on him rejecting temptation throughout his earthly life, but being born miraculously without the curse of original sin passed on through the normal reproductive process. The slightest possibility that Jesus had a bio dad would cast suspicion on his sinlessness.
Thank you, Joseph and Mary, for your faith-filled following of God’s commands that prohibit premarital sex. God knew what he was doing in your case, and in every case of couples hooking up today. Sex and marriage are gifts from God, and he has the right—and the heavenly wisdom—to regulate them. He will bless faith-filled decisions that obey his Word (Matthew 1:18,19; Hebrews13:4).
4) Joseph, stressed out by these new developments, could have run from it all. Not to worry, the angel reassured Joseph, “Son of David, do not be afraid.” Like his ancestor, David, Joseph could trust in God’s words and ways when facing giant-like distress.
Sometimes when we face insurmountable circumstances, God delivers us not by changing the circumstances but by changing us. Joseph “did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him” (Matthew 1:20,24).
5) What about governments that get in the way of Christianity? The first name we typically hear in the Christmas story belongs not to a pious follower of God but to the pagan empire of the day. “Caesar Augustus issued a decree…”
Governments may interfere in our lives, and yet their decrees always serve the higher purpose of the ultimate Authority, God himself. Such was the case when God was born, subjecting himself to the decree of an earthly ruler yet orchestrating this obedience for the eternal good of all. Government is always “God’s servant” (Luke 2:1, Romans 13:4). Then and today.
6) Undesirable travel plans might have threatened Joseph and Mary’s first Christmas, instead, they fulfilled ancient prophecies calling for the Savior to be born in Bethlehem, not Nazareth or Jerusalem.
Off they went to the hustle and bustle of this little town right at the inopportune time of Mary’s due date. How inconvenient! Yet how divinely orchestrated. God knows what he’s doing (Luke 2:4-7).
Don’t let a little travel adjustment or hustle and bustle of traffic ruin your Christmas. God works through it always.
PRAYER: Dear God, you are lord over the governments of this world, and over weather and traffic that threaten my travel schedule. When I fear these, I give them too much control that you do not. Strengthen my faith, so that I trust more deeply and continually in you. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Matthew 1:18-25, the angel’s appearance to Joseph early in the Christmas story. In what ways was Joseph’s faith challenged? How did he demonstrate exceptional obedience?