Christmas on Location: Mary & Joseph

This morning, Dec. 15, 2019, we had a blessed time of music at UPPC!  First and foremost of course we thank God for the people, place, and resources that make such a celebration possible!  If you missed it, you can watch the live stream on Facebook.

During this Advent season, we are contemplating "Christmas on Location," the real place, people, and circumstances into which the messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, was born.  The lyrics of Michael W. Smith's song "The Promise" beautifully remind us to "Fear not, oh Israel, for there is peace still to come."  But it would take an arduous journey to get there.

Luke tells us about this journey.  The route Nazareth to Bethlehem is difficult to say the least.  Only 64 miles as the crow flies, the journey on foot would take 6-7 days due to rough terrain and elevation changes.  In the end, the road was over 100 miles long.  Can you imagine making the journey on foot, let along while pregnant?  The home stretch was perhaps the hardest, as Mary and Joseph would have to ascend from the area of the Dead Sea to Bethlehem, about 4000 feet of elevation gain.  

But they made it.  And once they were there the baby arrived.  The baby who would topple an empire.  The baby who would topple sin and death.  The baby who is the Son of the Most High God.  And yet, the baby born in humility and the reality of flesh and blood.

Jesus' relatively unremarkable birth can be a source of comfort for so many of us.  Had he been born to royalty, wealth, or power, who could relate to him?  And who would believe he could understand us, most of whom exist in "humble estate."  Even the Church in 20 centuries has, at times, become its own institution, whose customs are hard for most people to relate to.  If this is the case for you, then know this Christmas that amidst the many questions Christianity evokes, there is one thing you need to know: God came to us as a baby born to a young mother in a humble home.  This is how available Jesus still is.  He is both humble and powerful, strong in his meekness.  He is both majestically divine, and humbly human.  

This is what we all need to remember about who God is and the lengths Jesus would go to love us weary people.  He's come so that you may know the purpose and meaning of your life.  He's come to remind us that despite your holiday season anxiety, or the worries and fears that define so much of the world, Jesus is enough for us this December.  And every day.  Everything else can be imperfect, clunky, messy.  So this Christmas season, may your hearts be full of adoration for the newborn King of kings, who knows you by name and loves you so much.  

For reflection:
- What do you think would be the hardest part of Joseph and Mary's journey?
- When you think of this chapter in the Christmas story (the journey to Bethlehem), what stands out to you the most?
- Do you believe that "Jesus is enough" for you this Christmas season?  Why or why not?
- For prayer: bring to Jesus those parts of your life which seem inadequate, incomplete, unsatisfactory.  Ask him to show you the ways that he is enough for you.

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