It's That Time of Year

It's That Time of Year

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Matthew 1:18-25
This month brings different emotions for different people. Some love the cold weather and the snow. Some love the Christmas music, lights, and everything else that comes with Christmas. For some it is a painful time of year as they have lost someone close to them and will be missing from the Christmas celebration. Christians understand that this holiday is a time for us to celebrate the birth of Christ. But if we’re honest, we can forget why we celebrate Christmas, and we look just like the world when we celebrate Christmas.
The virgin birth doesn’t faze many Christians anymore, so it just becomes an overlooked miracle. Yet the truth is Jesus was born of a virgin. This had never happened and will never happen again, but the beginning of the story is that Joseph and Mary are allowed to have and raise this baby boy by obeying the Lord’s call on their life. I believe there are several takeaways from the birth of Jesus that Christians can apply to their lives.

The Obedience of Joseph and Mary

You read in those first few verses the shock of both Mary and Joseph. The gospel of Luke goes into more detail, but Mary had a child in her womb that was not from Joseph. However, this child was not from another man but from the Holy Spirit. Joseph, not knowing this detail, thought it would be best to divorce her quietly to not bring shame onto her, but an angel came to visit Joseph. The angel told Joseph that he and Mary should continue in their betrothal, and they should remain married because Mary would bear a child by the Holy Spirit, and they should call him Jesus. Matthew connects this story with the prophecy found in Isaiah 7:14:
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. - Isaiah 7:14
Just as they obeyed the Lord’s call on their life, we should obey when God calls, and we should strive to obey the Lord in all our ways.

The Humility of Jesus

In this text, verse twenty-one is the greatest verse. There is power in the name of Jesus. There is salvation in the name of Jesus. There is freedom from sin in the name of Jesus. It is Jesus who will save his people from their sins.

Consider what Jesus did in the virgin birth. He is the Son of God who has been with his Father and the Holy Spirit for an eternity. He has everything but submits himself to be born of a virgin. He submits himself to be treated poorly in this world. He submits himself to be despised, scoffed at, and at last to die a painful, shameful, and ignominious death; he would be treated as though he was the off-scouring of all mankind; he would be used, not like the son of man, and, therefore, not at all like the Son of God…[1] He came not in glory and honor, but was born in a manger with animals all around him. He did all of this that we may have life. We do not have to be enslaved to our sin anymore. He humbled himself to the cross so you may have life in him.

Would you say you are imitating Jesus this way in your humility and obedience? Do you put others before yourself? This Christmas season, like every year, the world makes it all about you. Followers of Jesus must humble themselves, considering others more important than themselves. Consider Jesus this season thinking about the virgin birth and what Jesus did that you may have life.
  [1] Robert Murray McCheyne et al., A Treasury of Great Preaching: 5 Vol. Set (WORDsearch, 2020).
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