31 Days of the Christmas Story from Genesis to John: Day 14 – Gabriel visits Mary

annunciation2Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14 

Here we continue with the story of events told by Luke.

Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month (of Elizabeth’s pregnancy), the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.”  But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be.  Then the angel told her:

Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Now listen:
You will conceive and give birth to a son,
and you will call His name Jesus.
He will be great
and will be called the Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him
the throne of His father David.
He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
and His kingdom will have no end.

Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?

The angel replied to her:
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore, the holy One to be born
will be called the Son of God.

And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless.  For nothing will be impossible with God.”

“I am the servant of the Lord,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.

May you believe this Christmas, that the God who created the world, and created you, can do anything.

* Merry Christmas

31 Days of the Christmas Story from Genesis to John: Day 15 – Mary visits Elizabeth

mary-elizabeth

“For My name will be great among the nations, from the rising of the sun to its setting. Incense and pure offerings will be presented in My name in every place because My name will be great among the nations,” says Yahweh of Hosts.  Malachi 1:11

The angel visited both Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth will become the mother of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ. Her cousin Mary will be the mother of Jesus. Luke, the storyteller doctor, continues the story here.

Luke 1:39-56
In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she exclaimed with a loud cry:

“You are the most blessed of women,
and your child will be blessed!

How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me!  She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!”

And Mary said:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,
because He has looked with favor
on the humble condition of His servant.
Surely, from now on all generations
will call me blessed,
because the Mighty One
has done great things for me,
and His name is holy.
His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
He has done a mighty deed with His arm;
He has scattered the proud
because of the thoughts of their hearts;
He has toppled the mighty from their thrones
and exalted the lowly.
He has satisfied the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
mindful of His mercy,
just as He spoke to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his descendants forever.

And Mary stayed with her about three months; then she returned to her home.

The one who believes is blessed. May you believe this Christmas season, and experience the blessings of God.

* Merry Christmas

31 Days of the Christmas Story from Genesis to John: Day 18 – Joseph is engaged to Mary

mary_tells_joseph

The Christmas story now switches to the book of Matthew for more details about Mary’s engagement to Joseph. The author Matthew was originally a tax collector, an occupation that was considered the lowest class of sinners in those days. Yet Jesus dines with him and his rebellious group of friends in his home, an act that would have been improper to be associated with such sinners. After the dinner party with Jesus, Matthew gives up everything to follow Jesus and becomes one of his twelve disciples.

In the beginning of the book of Matthew, he lists the genealogy from Abraham to King David, and from David to the Babylonian exile, and from the exile to Joseph, the husband of Mary. Joseph was a legal heir to the throne through King David’s son Solomon but neither he nor his children could be the biological heir because of his ancestor Jehoiakim’s curse from God. The curse states that because of Jehoiakim’s evil ways, none of his descendants would ever sit on the throne. Now, Joseph is told the news that Mary is carrying a holy child. Joseph’s story is certainly no small detail in this Christmas story.

We are not told exactly how Mary told Joseph, but Matthew does give us an account. Can you imagine how that conversation went?

Matthew 1:18-19
“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”

Joseph could have had Mary stoned and saved his own reputation by making a public example of her. Joseph was a carpenter by trade, and this might possibly have affected his business too. Mary, knowing the possibilities that awaited her, still continued on. Joseph must have been a man of great restraint, mercy and humility. He was chosen by God to be Jesus’ earthly father, to provide for him and protect him. What an honor. That was no insignificant thing.

May you reach out to our Heavenly Father, who shows us the way for mercy, love and unending forgiveness.

* Merry Christmas *

31 Days of the Christmas Story from Genesis to John: Day 19 – An angel visits Joseph

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When Joseph heard the news that Mary was with child, he considered divorcing her from their engagement. But that was not God’s plan. This becomes the third time an angel appears announcing the baby Jesus. The first time was to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, the forerunner to Christ. Then the angel appears to Mary, and now Joseph. And the angels are not finished yet with this Heavenly celebration!

Matthew 1:20-22,24
But after Joseph had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus.

May you find the God of joy and celebration this Christmas season.

* Merry Christmas *

31 Days of the Christmas Story from Genesis to John: Day 20 – Caesar sends a decree

rome_statue_of_augustus

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town. – Luke 2:1-3

Caesar Augustus (Octavius) was heir to Julius Caesar, who died in 44 BC. Octavius defeated Marc Antony in the famous Roman battle in 30 BC and became Rome’s first emperor. He was given the title Augustus.

At this particular time in history, from 30 BC to AD, the Roman empire extended further than ever before or since. Rome dominated the world. Daniel’s prophecy of the third kingdom out of four major kingdoms had taken place with Rome. The final major kingdom was to be a kingdom with no end.

There was also universal peace in the land during this time – no wars or conflicts. It was the perfect time for Caesar to order his people to be registered so he could have a record. And it was the perfect time for the Messiah to be born, the Prince of Peace and Kingdom with no end.

 

May you seek the true Peace on Earth this Christmas, Jesus Christ, who came as a Savior for the entire world. For anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

* Merry Christmas *