This post is by Rose Spillenaar Harmer, who posted it earlier this month at her blog and gave me permission to post it here. Rose and I became friends at a church camp in northern Ontario when we were adolescents and have remained friends since then. Here is how she describes herself at her blog: “Rose is a retired marriage and family therapist and speaks on subjects related to prayer, spirituality, marriage and mental health. She travels throughout North America and one of her favorite subjects is ‘listening to God’ through scripture, sermons and the still, inaudible voice of the Holy Spirit. She writes a weekly devotional called ‘Listening to Hear’.” You may read her devotionals at Listening to Hear.
As we approach the Christmas season, I am reminded again that God gave the announcement of Christ’s birth to a very diverse audience.
“God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazereth, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Jospeh.” Luke 1:26-27 (NIV)
Mary was a teenage girl engaged to be married to a man probably much older. Yet, when asked to bear the Christ child she willingly said yes. However, when Joseph discovered she was pregnant he wanted to break the engagement, privately. But, then he also heard from the Lord.
“An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.'” Matt. 1:20 (NIV)
Therefore Joseph took Mary as his bride though she was pregnant. They went to Bethlehem with only a donkey and Mary was heavy with child. Since there was no room in the inn, Mary gave birth to the Christ child in the stable.
“There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them… and said: ‘Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord.'” Luke 2:8-11 (NIV)
Shepherds received the message from a heavenly host of angels and hurried to pay homage to the Savior.
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.'” Matt. 2:1-2 (NIV)
The wealthy wise men who studied the stars realized the new star appearing in the heavens announced the birth of a King in Israel. They traveled a very long way to see the Blessed Child.
All of these people listened to God announcing Jesus’ birth in unusual ways. They went to find Him. Jesus came to earth as a baby to show us how to live and gave His life for the salvation of all who seek Him. He came to the rich and the poor. He is the reason for this season.