Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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December 21 – Preparing For Christmas

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.”  Luke 2:4-6

Devotional Thought For The Day

The circumstances of the birth of Jesus were dictated by strong forces which seem quite inconsonant with “holy history” and God’s eternal plan for redeeming mankind from sin and restoring us to a loving relationship with Him and a new life of love.  Joseph and Mary were traveling a rather long distance [without benefit of modern transportation] because of a governmental decree regarding a census. The decree required “registration” at one’s ancestral village – and those involved [and we too] must have thought this another example of governmental insanity.  Why couldn’t they just have registered by sending in a postcard?

Such strong forces were probably the only thing that could have motivated Mary and Joseph to take up such an arduous journey late in her pregnancy – yet God’s Word had proclaimed that Bethlehem was to be the birthplace of the Messiah, the Savior of the world, the King of all creation.  You see how God uses all things, even inconsonant things, to fulfill His will and keep His Word.  There certainly were other ways that He could have “arranged” all of this, but He does as He pleases, and He has a far greater context and greater purposes than we are capable of understanding.

To this day Christmas is celebrated amidst similar concerns and dynamics – family gatherings, difficult travel [much greater lengths, though less time involved], difficulties arranging accommodations, not to mention the matter of eating, figuring out how to purchase, prepare, and provide food for the whole “assembled” family.  While some may have to deal with the infringements of pregnancy during the celebration of Christmas, most have to be concerned about children – their needs, their lack of patience, their behavior in front of others.  Cost is another thing – Christmas is expensive, just as it was for Mary and Joseph.  Sacrifices have to be made to celebrate Christmas – to get together with family, to enjoy food together, to exchange presents.

Sacrifices also have to be made if our celebration of Christmas is going to have anything to do with the coming of our Savior, with rejoicing in God’s gifts and His gracious purposes for our blessedness in giving us His Son, our Savior.  Attending services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day require planning – such worship services infringe on “family” plans, meals, opening presents, drinking, being tired from travel.  Yes, they also require some travel – getting into the car on time, driving at least some distance, perhaps in bad weather and on slick roads.

The incarnation and birth of the Lord Jesus Christ required preparation and commitment on the part of God.  His birth in Bethlehem involved preparation, commitment, and sacrifice on the part of Mary and Joseph.  Our celebration of Christmas [if it truly is a celebration of Christ’s birth and the wonders of God’s love for us] also requires preparation, commitment, and sacrifice.  We know the blessedness that has come to us because of what Christ has done for us.  We know and have been blessed in Christ, in part, because of the preparation and commitment and sacrifice of others.  The desire to share this blessedness of God’s great love in Christ Jesus with others – our children and other family members, and perhaps even friends, should motivate us to make careful preparations for Christmas.  We have the weekend to prepare, although it is probably already filled with “Christmas” activities.  Tomorrow is Saturday – perhaps we have some time to prepare then.  We have Sunday worship, and the rest of Sunday, and some of Monday to prepare.  It is not too late to “set the schedule” around Christ, around celebration of His blessed love.  And our Christmas will be far more blessed if we make the right preparations! May God grant each of us such joy and peace!

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, remind us that You are in control of all things, and that there are always reasons for the difficulties and challenges that we are confronted with, that all things serve Your loving will and purposes for us. Grant us wisdom to embrace commitment and sacrifice as we are preparing for Christmas, the celebration of Your love and salvation, Your commitment to us.  Amen.