Whilst Christmas is different for many this year – and not all that we expected or hoped – it certainly isn’t cancelled. It’s impossible to cancel Christmas. Hope, love, peace, miracles, and Jesus cannot be cancelled.
Here is the story of the very first Christmas and the events that surrounded it:
The birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. His mother Mary had been promised to Joseph in marriage. But before they were married, Mary realised that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph was an honorable man and did not want to disgrace her publicly. So he decided to break the marriage agreement with her secretly. Joseph had this in mind when an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The angel said to him, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She is pregnant by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus [He Saves], because he will save his people from their sins.” All this happened so that what the Lord had spoken through the prophet came true: “The virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel,” which means “God is with us.” When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him to do. He took Mary to be his wife. He did not have marital relations with her before she gave birth to a son. Joseph named the child Jesus.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea when Herod was king. After Jesus’ birth wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the one who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star rising and have come to worship him.” When King Herod and all Jerusalem heard about this, they became disturbed. He called together all the chief priests and the experts in the Scriptures and tried to find out from them where the Messiah was supposed to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem in Judea. The prophet wrote about this: Bethlehem in the land of Judah, you are by no means least among the leaders of Judah. A leader will come from you. He will shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod secretly called the wise men and found out from them exactly when the star had appeared. As he sent them to Bethlehem, he said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you have found him, report to me so that I may go and worship him too.” After they had heard the king, they started out. The star they had seen rising led them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were overwhelmed with joy to see the star. When they entered the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary. So they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. So they left for their country by another road.
Matthew 1:18-25 and 2:1 -12
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee. The angel went to a virgin promised in marriage to a descendant of David named Joseph. The virgin’s name was Mary. When the angel entered her home, he greeted her and said, “You are favored by the Lord! The Lord is with you.” She was startled by what the angel said and tried to figure out what this greeting meant. The angel told her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God. You will become pregnant, give birth to a son, and name him Jesus. He will be a great man and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. Your son will be king of Jacob’s people forever, and his kingdom will never end.”
Mary asked the angel, “How can this be? I’m a virgin”
The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come to you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy child developing inside you will be called the Son of God. “Elizabeth, your relative, is six months pregnant with a son in her old age. People said she couldn’t have a child. But nothing is impossible for God.” Mary answered, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’ve said happen to me.” Then the angel left her.
At that time the Emperor Augustus ordered a census of the Roman Empire. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All the people went to register in the cities where their ancestors had lived. So Joseph went from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a Judean city called Bethlehem. Joseph, a descendant of King David, went to Bethlehem because David had been born there. Joseph went there to register with Mary. She had been promised to him in marriage and was pregnant. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there wasn’t any room for them in the inn. Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem. They were taking turns watching their flock during the night. An angel from the Lord suddenly appeared to them. The glory of the Lord filled the area with light, and they were terrified. The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David’s city. This is how you will recognise him: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly, a large army of angels appeared with the angel. They were praising God by saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those who have his good will!” The angels left them and went back to heaven.
The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.” They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph with the baby, who was lying in a manger. When they saw the child, they repeated what they had been told about him. Everyone who heard the shepherds’ story was amazed. Mary treasured all these things in her heart and always thought about them. As the shepherds returned to their flock, they glorified and praised God for everything they had seen and heard. Everything happened the way the angel had told them.
Luke 1:26-38 and 2:1-20
With Love, Abi X