Have you thought about Christmas? You’re probably thinking, “Thought about it? Who has the time? I’m busy with work and the usual day to day stuff. Then there’s Christmas. There’s the church stuff, the family stuff, the gifts, the decorations, and so on. Who has time to think about Christmas? I’m too busy with Christmas.”
You may not have thought much about Christmas, but I know two people who thought about Christmas. Well, at least the first Christmas. That was the parents of the Christ child, Mary and Joseph. And did they ever have a lot to ponder and think about!
Consider Mary. In the Bible, Luke 2:19 reads, “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” This was after Jesus was born and the shepherds had left. I’m sure all the events of the previous months swirled around in her mind.
Mary was a young, virgin, teenage girl betrothed to Joseph. Then came the visit by the angel, Gabriel telling her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” (Luke 1:30-32)
Besides the angel visit, there was the idea of a virgin getting pregnant with the Son of God. And she was the virgin! Then, to have the baby, who was the Son of God, in a feed trough in a smelly stable. The shepherds, who came to the stable to see her baby, also said they were visited by an angel. The angel told the shepherds that her son, Jesus, was the “Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” That’s a lot for a teenage girl, now a mother, to take in. Can you imagine trying to explain to Joseph, family and friends? Well, there was probably no use in trying. At least Joseph understood and accepted.
Being betrothed back then was a whole lot more than being engaged today. It was a legal binding contract. Joseph had found out that the young lady he thought was going to be his future wife was pregnant. And he knew it wasn’t by him since they hadn’t been together. He really could have made things bad for Mary, but he didn’t. Luke 1:19 states, “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.”
Joseph sure had much to think about. I’m sure there were many questions. But those questions were answered. The next verse reads, “But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’”
Yes, Joseph and Mary thought and pondered about that first Christmas. There was much for them to think and ponder about. How about you? Are you going to take some time this Christmas season to think, to really think, about the
true meaning of the holiday? Growing up, my momma had a way of proclaiming the countdown to Christmas. She would start about now and say something like, “Three weeks and it’ll all be over.” Then a few days later she’d say, “Ten days and it’ll all be over.” Then a week, five days, and so on until Christmas would be over. (I think December 26th was the day she was actually looking forward to.)
Well, in a little over two weeks, it’ll all be over. Are you going to be too busy with everything involved with the holiday again this year to think about Christmas? Deliberately set aside an hour this week to do it. Find a quiet place, read the Christmas story and think. Think about Christmas in your past. But also think about that first Christmas. Think about the young mother and her just husband. And think about the baby in a manger. In a manger, but destined for the cross. It’s the cross where, like the angel told Joseph, “He will save His people from their sin.” If we accept the sacrifice of Jesus on that cross as the payment for our sins, that can be you and me. That’s really something to think about this Christmas.