Once upon a Bethlehem Road

Once upon a Bethlehem road, two weary travelers exchanged anxious looks. Where would they stay for the night? Their need, urgent. A baby soon would force his way into the world.

“No vacancy!” the innkeeper said. “But there’s a stable…”

A stable! Didn’t he know this young woman carried royalty? Her child a king, the Son of God? Of course, he didn’t know. He was a businessman caught up in the busy-ness of the moment.

I don’t actually know that he directed them to the stable. But there they settled in, likely sharing the space with an audience of animals.

Once upon a Bethlehem night, with only her husband Joseph to assist, young Mary wrestled with the pain of childbirth and rejoiced to hold the tiny boy in her arms. Swaddling him with cloths, she laid the baby in the manger. They called him Jesus, as instructed by the angel announcing his coming.

This was no ordinary child. A messenger from heaven, Gabriel, had come to a young virgin, Mary, in the small town of Nazareth, saying she had been chosen to carry divinity.

“Fear not, Mary: for thou has found favor with God. And behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

Mary had questions. Of course she did! “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”

Betrothed to Joseph but not yet in a physical marriage relationship, Mary considered the logic. What Gabriel said seemed impossible.

The angel said, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

Her barren cousin Elisabeth had conceived a son in her old age, he said.

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

For with God nothing shall be impossible. Click To Tweet

Mary responded, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

How would Joseph handle this turn of events? Human wisdom struggled to understand his betrothed had conceived a child by the Holy Ghost. Caring for her reputation, he considered divorcing her privately.

“But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

“Then Joseph, being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”

That Holy Thing…the Son of God.

I met him! Jesus! Emanuel!

Once upon an ordinary night, just a child, I recognized my need for a Savior and invited Jesus into my heart. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Once upon an ordinary night, just a child, I recognized my need for a Savior and invited Jesus into my heart. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Click To Tweet

That decision—calling on him for salvation—gave me assurance of spending eternity in Heaven, but I had no idea what following Christ would look like day by day.

Decades later looking back, I acknowledge that was the smartest decision of my life…a decision to live guided by Emanuel…God with us.

May we never allow the busy-ness of the moment to distract us from living in the peace and joy Jesus brings.

(See Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1.)

How has knowing the Lord Jesus Christ given you peace in troubled times? Please share this article with your friends!

© Dianne Barker 2020

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