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When Jesus parents had fulfilled

When Jesus parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee.
There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom and God’s favor was upon him. Luke 2:39-40
So, to set the scene for the next few visitors.
The wisemen were coming to visit Mary and Joseph, traveling many miles to get there.
Unlike the manger scenes we have set out in our homes the wisemen arrived a few years later and they came to the house.
In Matthew it shares that they came from eastern lands and arrived in Jerusalem, asking,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? we saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
After speaking to Herod, the star guided them to the place where they lived.
When they entered the house and saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him.
Presenting their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrhh.
When they left, they went a different direction that Herod had said for they were warned by God in a dream not to return to him.
Herod was very upset and a very evil and jealous man who decided that every first-born son under age two were to be killed.
He wanted to be sure the ‘Messiah’ did not survive.
The verse, “a cry was heard in Ramah-weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they were all dead.”
It was a horrible time and when Joseph and Mary heard about all that was to take place they left for Egypt. Until Herods death.
It was to fulfill the prophecy, “I called my son out of Egypt.”
An angel of the Lord instructed Joseph and Mary when it was safe to move forward with their child.
They were able to go back into the town of Nazareth one more time fulfilling part of the story.

A very special meeting took place

A very special meeting took place in the temple where Jesus was presented and officially named.
They were told what his name would be but according to the law it had to be legal as he was presented to the Lord.
At that time there was an old man named Simeon who was righteous and devout and eagerly waiting for the Messiah to arrive.
The Holy Spirit came upon him and told him he would not die until he had seen the Messiah.
The same day Mary and Joseph arrived the spirit led him to the temple too.
Simeon was there, and when he took the child in his arms, he knew the baby was the one.
Joseph and Mary were amazed at this scene between this man and child.
Then Simeon blessed him telling Mary; this child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall but he will be a joy to many others.
He has been sent by God and the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed, and a sword will pierce your very soul.
(Rather odd thing to say to a young couple presenting their baby but it was necessary and prophetic.)
As he was doing this Anna the prophet was there in the temple too.
She was a very old widow and was waiting for the chosen one just like Simeon.
She overheard the conversation that Simeon had with Mary and Joseph, and she began worshipping and praising God.
She talked about this baby to everyone she met. She understood and knew HE was the one.
This was a powerful moment for everyone involved because ‘a baby was born and was presented and was rejoiced over’.
Mary treasure all this in her heart not knowing the full impact of what was to come for her.
I would imagine upon leaving the temple the thoughts were many between Mary and Joseph.
A very special meeting took place in the temple that day.

Suddenly an angel of the Lord

The night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.
Luke 2:9-20
[Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them.
They were terrified, but the angel reassured them.
“Don’t be afraid! he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.
The Savior-yes, the Messiah, The Lord has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
And you will recognize him by this sign:
You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others-the armies of heaven-praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other,
“Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
They hurried to the village leaving their flocks behind and found Mary and Joseph.
And there was the baby, lying in a manger, just as they were told.
After seeing him the shepherds told everyone in the village, what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.
All who heard the shepherd’s story were astonished,
but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.
It was just as the angel had told them.]
Can you even imagine the excitement and the joy they must have felt?
They all saw it, they all heard it, they all were a part of the glorious singing.
We must remember a part of this story, is the fact that shepherds were marginalized people.
Most people left them alone and gave them no credit or worth.
They were out in the fields, dirty and rough. Left alone.
But God…chose them, chose them to be a part of the story forever in time.
They were not what we could call credible witnesses and yet; the people listened and believed them.
I wonder if God planned for them to be chosen, so the story could be told in an amazing way,
through those who normally would not be listened to by others.
Value is always given when God has a hand in a chosen moment.*
It is a powerful thing to be given purpose and honor and especially through the eyes of God.
They were given value and voice and a reason to share.
I would imagine they were amazed for they knew the skies and they knew the glory was new.
Isn’t that hopeful for others who seem to think they have no voice or purpose?
The night there were shepherds staying in the fields and their lives would be changed forever.
Suddenly an angel of the Lord met them.

The next scene that takes place

The next scene that takes place is found in Luke 2.
The census was taken throughout the Roman Empire and Joseph needed to go and be counted.
Because he was a descendant of King David he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea.
While they were there Mary gave birth to Jesus.
Now let’s back up and imagine a journey on country roads that were not easy to travel, and Mary was very round and riding a donkey.
I’m sure she was very tired and worn out from the riding and maybe she walked too we are not told that information.
It was a hard journey, but it was necessary.
When they got to Bethlehem there was no room anywhere for her to rest.
Joseph had relatives there but apparently, they were not open to him staying there, and the census would mean many people would be in that area.
I can’t imagine what Mary thought. Any new mom is fearful of what is to come.
The unknown is hard to deal with and here she was giving birth to a baby.
Perhaps she was alone? We are not told, maybe someone in the town helped her?
Joseph didn’t know what HE was doing or what was expected to do.
It says she wrapped the baby in strips of cloth and laid him in the manger.
There were no diapers, no soft baby blankets, nothing that we would think of when a new baby is born.
YET the baby arrived and the angels too and they were singing GLORY TO GOD…
out in the field where the shepherds were keeping watch at night.
The sky would be bright, and clear and if you have ever looked up in a night sky it is amazing and marvelous….to see the constellation of stars and beauty.
The next scene that takes place is found in Luke 2.

In the book of Luke

In the book of Luke, it tells us that Mary hurried to the country of Judea to the town where Zechariah and Elizabeth lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth and at the sound of her voice the baby Elizabeth was carrying leaped within her, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth said to Mary, “why am I so honored that the mother of my Lord should visit me?”
Now we have to remember Mary and Elizabeth were relatives.
They knew each other very well in fact Mary was at her house to tell her ‘About her baby and the angel visiting her’ and also to see what the angel had said about Elizabeth, for everyone knew she was barren with no child.
Mary responded to Elizabeth with a song of acceptance, the magnificat a song of praise. Found in Luke 1:40-56
It says she stayed with Elizabeth about three months, and I wonder if she was there when Elizabeth gave birth. The next scene we read about is the birth of John.
There is so much to the story of Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus.
Joseph was warned by the angel Gabriel to take Mary as his wife.
It was a customary thing in that time to divorce her quietly in this situation, but he was told not to do that. Marry her and don’t become husband and wife until after the baby was to be born. We are not told much about other children, in this story, but there were others that were related to Jesus later.
I wonder if the time Mary spent with Elizabeth was for Joseph to figure out what he was going to do with the life changing decisions ahead of him.
The story of Mary and Joseph and all that had to change for them, gives me great hope and amazement. How they accepted and followed through with the news of their changing lives together, not knowing or fully understanding what the future would be for them.
There is more to the story as we continue on to read what was written.
In the book of Luke

An angel met with Mary

When Elizabeth was six months along with John, an angel met with Mary who was engaged to be married to Joseph.
Gabriel appeared to her in Luke 1:28 and he said,
“Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Now we must stop for a second and remember she was only 16, not quite a woman; but God knew.
It said she was, confused and disturbed as she thought about what the angel had said to her.
Wouldn’t that be the normal response when hearing a greeting like that?
The other thing to remember; women who were pregnant and not married were often stoned to death.
It was a serious issue not only for her, for Joseph and their families involved.
She must have had many questions and concerns.
Then the angel said,
“Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God!
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.
He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”
Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
So, the baby to be born will be holy, and will be called the Son of God.
What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age!
People used to say she was barren, but now she is in her sixth month.
For nothing is impossible with God.”
Mary’s response to the angel was,
“I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true,”
Then the angel left her.
{I truly think the angel brought the news about Elizabeth to Mary, so she would believe more intensely and with more reality.
She knew Elizabeth was old and barren. She also knew she must go see her and see for herself what the angel had said.}
An angel met with Mary and told her the good news..