Ever wonder how Mary and Joseph felt two months before the birth of Jesus? Two months before Christmas?
See if this sounds familiar.
Mary and Joseph and the people of their day faced insurmountable odds. They were under the rule of a tyrannical King Herod who despised his own. He charged the people exorbitant taxes, had little tolerance for their religion, and did not believe in the sanctity of life. Cost of living was high, job opportunities were low. Scandal in the courtrooms and government was commonplace.
The Jews felt harried and harassed. Hopeless and not heard.
That wasn’t all.
Along the roads to and from the Judean cities, brutal attacks often broke out with no cause or care for humanity. At the same time, Israel and its government had been infiltrated by people from another land. Most of them hated the Jews and their way of life. Culture was changing and the people were utterly divided and afraid.
Even the religious people.
Yes, two months before that first Christmas, things were a mess.
And so Mary and Joseph – like all Jewish people of the day – were waiting for a great leader to rescue them. A deliverer. Someone who could make Israel great again. A ruler to abolish the domination of King Herod and all he stood for.
But the people of Mary and Joseph’s day had it all wrong.
They were waiting for a human king, a man of this world. In all their longing and looking for change, they wanted a person who could bring peace and power, freedom and order. Someone to fulfill dozens of prophecies, Scriptures like Isaiah 11:4 which says “evil and tyranny would not be able to stand before his leadership,” and Ezekiel 16:55: “The ruined cities of Israel will be restored,” under his rule.
Instead they got Christmas.
That baby born in a manger was everything they never knew they needed. Savior of the World. God in the flesh. Redeemer. Prince of Peace. Lord of lords. Everlasting Father.
King of kings.
If anyone understood their plight it was Him.
But only Mary and Joseph and a few others – a ragtag forgotten group of shepherds and a trio of wise men from the east – believed that the infant boy born in a barn was the ruler the people had longed for.
The one who would set them free.
King Herod was troubled by the possibility that the baby Jesus might be a threat to his heavy-handed ruling. And so he ordered the murder of all baby boys under the age of two.
As if babies were disposable.
But neither the doubts of the people nor the demonic actions of a power-hungry leader could stop the divine rescue God had in mind for His own. No unfair government, nor violent, divided society could do away with the heaven-sent salvation at hand. Two months before the birth of Jesus, the truth was simply this:
Nothing could stop Christmas.
And so it is true today.
Amidst the craziness of our culture and the tumult of our times, all of us are looking for a leader. And like the Jewish people of old, we are tempted to think the answer might come through an election. A person. As if a human could possibly make a lasting difference in this mostly corrupt and cruel generation.
This November I will vote. It is my duty. You should, too.
But with all the bad news, I pray I might hold onto what is eternally good. The words of the Angel of the Lord spoken to a people shaken by fear and division:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.”
And so – two months early – Merry Christmas.
Karen Kingsbury is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and has been called America’s favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. Her last dozen titles have topped bestseller charts and many of her novels are under development with Hallmark Films and as major motion pictures. She lives in Tennessee with her husband Don and their five sons, three of whom are adopted from Haiti. Their actress daughter Kelsey lives nearby and is married to Christian recording artist Kyle Kupecky. The couple recently welcomed their first child, Hudson, making Karen and Don grandparents for the first time. Karen’s new book A BAXTER FAMILY CHRISTMAS is in stores now. For more information, visit www.karenkingsbury.com