“And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant.” ~ Luke 2:4-5

I cannot imagine a busier time than Christmas.  There are presents to buy, food to prepare, Christmas cards to write, family to mentally prepare for, and a myriad of parties, pageants, and concerts to attend.  On top of that, this year was even busier for me as my first semester of graduate school came to an end, and I prepared to fly out to meet my boyfriend’s family for the first time. 

And then I got the call: my grandfather passed away.

His death was not unexpected, but it was still a shock.  I was flying out in two days, I had two papers due within that week, I had a Christmas concert to attend, some gifts to buy before I left town, and my family still had to pick out our tree. 

It was simply not a convenient time for anything else major to happen in my life; but in a split second, all the stress, all the worry, and all the cares faded away.  Everything fell into perspective.

The Business of the First Christmas

As I proceeded with all I had to do, I couldn’t help but think of the first Christmas.  I’m convinced Mary and Joseph must have felt the same way.  With a wedding to plan, a baby on the way, and the scandal of a pre-marital pregnancy to overcome, it was simply not a convenient time for anything else major to happen in their lives. 

And then they got the summons.  They needed to journey to Bethlehem.  It would have been a long, uncomfortable trip for poor Mary, even if she did ride on a donkey.  (The jury’s still out on that – it’s possible she walked.)  On top of that, traveling wasn’t exactly safe.  Terrorists opposed to the Roman government were liable to attack at any moment, and there were the usual brigands and thieves on the roads.  It would be crowded, there would be delays, and people would be rude (people are people, after all).  Then, on top of all that, there was no room for them at the Bethlehem inn, and they had to stay in the stable (Luke 2:7).

But God orchestrated it all perfectly for His glory.  The Baby was born right where he was supposed to be (Micah 5:2).  Shepherds came, telling a tale of angels proclaiming the Messiah’s birth (Luke 2:17). 

And Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19 NIV).  All the stress, all the worry, and all the cares faded away as everything fell into perspective.

Everything for God’s Glory

Granted, the birth of a Savior is a far happier event than the death of my grandfather.  But God orchestrated it all perfectly for His glory.  I was still able to fly out and meet my boyfriend’s family.  We had such a lovely, wonderful time!  I then attended my grandfather’s funeral, where I read my last blog during the remembrances.  In God’s perfect timing, he had listened to my grandmother read it to him about 15 minutes before he died.  We knew he was comforted by the Gospel in the end.

And there it was: the joy of making new friends and the sadness of saying goodbye to an old one.  I was reminded that overcoming Death was the reason for Christ’s coming in the first place, and that God orchestrates everything for His Glory.

My Prayer for you this Christmas

My Christmas prayer for you this year is that you would pause amidst the hustle and bustle and remember that it is the birth of a Savior we are celebrating.  And may all the stress, all the worry, and all the cares fade away as everything falls into perspective…

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