When I was a young believer, new to the Word and the power of the scriptures, I was introduced to the Messianic Prophecies. Today, while reading in Luke, the second chapter, my thoughts returned to those early studies of the Old Testament prophecies.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. Luke 2:4-5
Now read what Micah had to write about those same events many, many years prior: But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, thou you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from the old, from ancient times. Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God, and they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach the ends of the earth. And there will be peace. Micah 5:2-5
When I think about these events, my mind can hardly grasp the awesomeness of God. Here are Joseph and Mary, living in a completely different city during the time of her pregnancy. Then, because of a governmental order, this soon-to-be family has to pack up and journey back to the town from whence Joseph's family had descended. They did go to Bethlehem because of expert medical care, nor did they go there because it was beautiful destination and place to conceive their child. I would hasten to say that going on a trip at that point in a pregnancy was the last thing on their minds. Only God could create such circumstances to allow for the fulfillment of Micah's prophecy.
From this, now, I look at my own life and all of the circumstances through which I have lived and grown from and can't help but see the hand of God at work. I can only imagine how much work it was for Joseph and Mary to make that journey. I would also suspect that they were not happy about having to do so. I would tend to think that their need to return to Bethlehem was a huge inconvenience that put a significant amount of stress in their lives, and possibly, their relationship too.
How many times in our lives have we had to deal with events and circumstances that were stressful, untimely, inconvenient and created more painstaking work than we thought possible?
There is so unbelievably much more behind the birth of Jesus than a child being born in a barn because the hotels were full! Every last step of this miraculous conception was designed by God for a purpose. Just as every last step, journey, breath and experience in our lives is designed by God. Each of us has a purpose that was set for us before time was created, a life designed by God, to be filled with love, peace and joy. Find it. Live it. Be it.
It is my hope for all of my family, friends and acquaintances, and for everyone around the globe, to be able to focus on the bigness of the miracle child, Jesus, during the next few days. May the peace that he brings through the Holy Spirit be magnified during the upcoming days and, hopefully, flow with you into the new year.