December 25

“So, Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David. He went to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him, and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her first born son and wrapped Him in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:4-7).

Merry Christmas! Christ is the greatest gift we will ever receive, so today we pause to thank God for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15).

The story of the first Christmas reminds us that following God’s will for our lives will be the most satisfying, rewarding, and fulfilling journey we could ever undertake as a human being, but it also is a reminder that it is not easy or for the faint of heart. God was asking a lot from this young couple, as He will of us. Their trip while Mary was about to give birth was a significant undertaking, costing time and money. This trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem was approximately 80 miles, an arduous and taxing journey especially when one is about to deliver a child. Then this young couple, when they finally arrived in Bethlehem far away from home with little means available to them, was confronted with finding a place, any place, for their son to be born. God’s timing of events in our lives rarely coincides with what is convenient for us. They found a place. It was probably a cave near the inn where the guests were keeping their animals. And where was the Son of God laid after He was born? He was laid in a feeding trough the animals used. Most of us would shudder at such conditions for the birth of our children, and yet God’s plans are not like our plans, nor are God’s ways like our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Though we think we need all of this stuff around us to make life worthwhile and meaningful, what we discover as disciples of Jesus Christ is that all we really need is God. That realization, however, may only come to us, as it did for Joseph and Mary on that first Christmas day, when we realize that God is all we have. When we realize that God is all we have then we realize God is all we need. So many of us today will be surrounded by family, friends, food, and so many gifts, but may we be reminded that our greatest gift will always be Jesus and that Jesus is all we really need.