Before we come to the main event, let’s not forget poor Joseph who seems lost in all of the comings and goings. He’s heard that Mary is “to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:18), a story he can’t quite buy into. Joseph is left to ponder these things during the three months Mary is away at Elizabeth’s house.
What are we told about Joseph?
1. Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph (Matt. 1:18), which means they were legally bound but not yet living together.
2. Joseph was a righteous man. Matt. 1:19
3. He did not want to expose her to public disgrace and had in mind to divorce her quietly. (Matt. 1:19) He could have signed the papers to have her judged publicly and stoned.
4. He patiently spent some time considering this. (Matt. 1:20)
At last, God graciously sends an angel to Joseph in a dream. The angel says,
“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. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matt. 1:20-21
We can add “obedient” to our list of things we know about Joseph. When Mary returns to Nazareth,
Joseph did what the angel of the Lord commanded him and took her home to be his wife. Matt. 1:24
So we see that angelic activity comes to Joseph as well as Mary and Zechariah. (Previous blogs.)
The heavenly host of angels now wait in the wings(smile) for their turn.
Mary and Joseph make their way to Bethlehem, the town of David. By Roman decree each person must go to the town of his heritage to be registered for the census. While there (in the town where prophecy said the Messiah would be born), Mary gives birth and swaddles him up tight as we still do for our babies today. There is no room for them in the inn so she lays him in a manger which indicates they are in a stable for the night.
Meanwhile, shepherds tend their sheep on the hills outside the little town of Bethlehem. In the late hour, perhaps one or two shepherds are resting while the other does guard duty.
Suddenly, an angel appears to them and (don’t miss this) the glory of the Lord shines around them. What does the “glory of the Lord” look like? I’m imagining unbelievable brilliance! Result? They are “sore afraid”—terrified. Of course the first thing we hear is,
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. (That’s you and me and everybody then and now—all people.)
Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. (The promised Messiah.)
This will be a sign to you: (Just so you can check it out.) You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Note that the sign is not a star (the star led the wise men), but a swaddled baby in a manger. Luke 2:10-12
As if that isn’t enough to knock their sandals off, it is now time for the whole host of heavenly angels to finally make their appearance. They burst forth in praise.
“GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, AND ON EARTH PEACE TO MEN ON WHOM HIS FAVOR RESTS.” Luke 2:14
It had to have been absolutely glorious. Praise His name, our redemption has come! Blessed Christmas to you.
~ Joyce ~