We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Kelly Bryant.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us).
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
What events bring joy to your life during the holidays? Maybe it’s the holiday wrapping and baking, having the opportunity to give, planning your gym’s 12 Days of Christmas workout, or just taking some time off to spend with family and friends.
Here’s a few things I bet you did not immediately think of when you envisioned a joyful Christmas:
- Having an unplanned pregnancy- when you’re not married yet
- Traveling (on foot) for over 5,000 miles at the end of the aforementioned pregnancy
- Discovering that there are no rooms available in the whole town when you reach your destination
- And then going into labor…
Under these circumstances, it would be hard for me to feel like God’s assignment for my life was meant to bring joy. Yet, these inconvenient events surrounding Jesus’ birth were fulfillment to the prophecies of old. Jesus had to be born of a virgin. He had to be called out of Egypt. He had to be born in Bethlehem. He had to be called a Nazarene. All of the circumstances that must have seemed like hardships at the time of Jesus’ birth were leading to the joy of our salvation. All of these fulfilled prophecies were meant to show proof that Jesus was the Messiah God promised to the world.
Maybe there are circumstances going on in your life right now that can’t be wrapped up with a pretty bow or covered over with fluffy tissue paper. Know that even if your holiday season doesn’t look like the Hallmark movie version of joy, that does not mean that God isn’t working in your situation. He is a master at turning mangers into thrones!
Father, I trust your plan to bring good gifts into my life. I may not always understand the steps and challenges along the way, but I can believe in your promises. Thank you for this example of your faithfulness through the Christmas story. Help me to open my eyes to the moments of joy and the fulfillment of your promises in my life. In your name I pray, amen.
Instead of allowing yourself to feel stressed over the parts of your life that don’t fit your vision of a joyful holiday, pray for God to use all the broken parts of your life to create something beautiful. Trust that your heavenly Father is working it all out for your good!
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