Since living in NYC, I have been in community constantly with others that foster my faith and I have to admit that the last 6 months have been so life changing. I've always been crazy about Jesus, but just learning more and more what that means to me day to day.
This is not cliche. This is meant from my heart. The reason that we are all about to celebrate this time with our family away from everything is because of Jesus. Think about it. Like, truly stop and think about how the entire nation almost shuts down for one day to celebrate his birthday.
How cool is He? I know no one celebrates my birthday that good? Haha!
The Israelites had been waiting and waiting for hundreds of years, and Jesus' birth was the prophesy being fulfilled. Let's just talk about this story for a minute, and I just want you to truly come with me through this story versus "let's read out of luke at mawmaws christmas dinner type way" but truly live in the moment like you are reading the story for the first time as I just tell you some parts that are cool to me.
Joseph's wife became with child (Mary) and he did not believe her at first. Think about if that were to happen now. They were even more conservative back then, so he was like "No girl, you are crazy and I know you slept with some other Roman soldier." Can't you see that conversation going down? However, the Bible is not clear about whether He decides to break their engagement because of what he believes to be unfaithfulness or just because he doesn't feel worthy to be the son of the Messiah but either way, an angel comes to Joseph (in a dream) and let's him know that she was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
So, hold up. I just had a dream that my fiance is pregnant by the Holy Spirit. It's almost laughable to think how people would feel now-a-days. IT WAS THE SAME.
Joseph was such a faithful man to God that he TRUSTED and so did Mary to be a part of this story. She was told early on about what would come, and she had to put full trust in God. In Matthew, it says that Joseph married her as a pregnant virgin. I'm just being real that in those times, that was HARD but he trusted Mary and he trusted God. Props, Joseph.
We all know how it goes down basically but they have the baby in a manger and more angels appear to the shepherds telling them of the good news. Tanner and I were discussing how crazy that must have been. Can you imagine what angels must look like? So beautiful but ghostly almost or maybe they are just ordinary men but either way, there was an entire host of them that began singing. If I was the shepherds, I would have had to make sure I wasn't having hallucinations.
The shepherds went to Bethlehem to see baby Jesus, and were just so excited that they started telling everyone about it. That's when ole King Herod heard about this king (from one of the wise men who had come to Jerusalem to find where baby Jesus was) and Herod wanted him to be found and killed because he couldn't have someone possibly taking over. It wasn't until then that the wise men went to see Jesus. Although all manger scenes and stories seem to portray the wise men in the stable, they actually didn't see Jesus until years later most likely when he was in a house in Bethlehem.
After the baby was given gifts (which is why we give gifts at Christmas) by the wise men, Joseph headed to Egypt to stay until King Herod died to protect Jesus. To put this into perspective, there were no cars. They had a baby, and traveled 200 miles by either foot or donkey. WUTTTT? Sometimes I picture baby Jesus like Benjamin Button, spitting truths all the way to Egypt, but let's be real, he was probably super fussy like every child and that was really hard.
I won't get too long winded as I want to stick to the birth of Jesus but lots more happens, and the entire reason that he comes as a baby is so that he can die for ME. Me. You. And me.
All the Christmas music, I picture that as the angels singing when they heard the great news.
All the presents, I picture the wise men coming with excitement to see Jesus.
We are able to celebrate this because he died in our place. He knew his reason and purpose his entire journey on this Earth and I hope to continue into 2015 knowing mine.
The Christmas season is all about fellowship, love and family. I think that all to often we start regarding this story almost like the movies or fictional characters and not actual history.
Lastly, I read a book called "Reason for God" by Timothy Keller this year and it really put some things in the gospel into perspective for me. Many times that the Bible is written leaves room for questions, but he truly breaks down WHY you should believe what you believe, how to answer those questions, and why the gospels are true and how that makes sense.
If you made it this far in the blog, I hope you go enjoy a Christmas Eve cookie. And I hope it at least makes you pause for a second and think about things just for a second longer. I know I probably never have before.
With love and Christmas season,