I am always amazed at the details of the Christmas story as I read and hear the accounts each December. This year, I was reminded that Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and Magi had a common thread in the story of the birth of Jesus. There were some profound lessons to be learned and taken to heart.
God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary to tell her that God had found favor with her and the Lord was with her. She was to give birth to a son and name him Jesus. He would be called the Son of the Most High. God would give him the throne of his father David. When Mary did not understand, the angel explained that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would conceive and have a baby. Mary believed and trusted God.
An angel appeared to Joseph, in a dream, and told him to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife because what was conceived in her was of the Holy Spirit. He was to give him the name Jesus. When he awoke, he did what the angel had told him to do. Joseph again obeyed when an angel warned him, in a dream, to take Mary and Jesus and escape to Egypt. While living in Egypt, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to now move to the district of Galilee and lived in the town of Nazareth.
The shepherds were watching their sheep when they were surprised by the angel telling them the news of Jesus’ birth. Then the angel chorus arrived to join in on the celebration. Even though they were afraid, they believed the message and went to see the baby they had been told about. And then they spread the word about what they had been told about Jesus.
The Magi came from the east because they had seen the star in the sky. After visiting Herod, they continued to follow the star until it stopped over the place where they found Jesus. They were warned in a dream to go home taking a different route.
heard God’s message,
listened to what was said,
believed the message,
and acted with obedience.
And they were assured that they did not need to be afraid. Sounds like a good plan for 2012, too!
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.