Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
We take a break from finishing our series “For the One” with our Christmas message. We will continue and finish up this series with two messages starting January 16, 2022, and we will finish up January 23, 2022.
Last week, we looked at Mary, the mother of Jesus. We studied her however when Jesus was thirty-three years old and was ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our sins by dying on the cross.
Today we start a four-part series titled “Impossible”. Today’s edition is subtitled “The Beginning”. We will pick up the remaining parts leading us to Easter starting April 3, 2022.
We start of with a love story. Mary and Joseph in love and about to be betrothed. This refers to a permanent relationship nearly equivalent to marriage. Today that is referred to as “Common Law Marriage”. Joseph and Mary were about to come together or cohabitate or form a physical union. Then the Impossible happens.
The angel Gabriel said to Mary: ‘Peace be with you! God has blessed you and is pleased with you.’ Mary was very surprised by this and wondered what the angel meant. The angel said to her ‘Don’t be afraid, God has been very kind to you.
You will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and give birth to a baby boy, and you will call him Jesus. He will be God’s own Son and his kingdom will never end.’ Mary was very afraid, but she trusted God. ‘Let it happen as God chooses.’ she replied to the angel. Gabriel also told Mary that her cousin, Elizabeth who everyone thought was too old to have children, would have a baby boy whom God had chosen to prepare the way for Jesus.
We note here that angelic visitation and dreams are a common means of supernatural revelation in the sacred literature of this time.
Mary who had never slept with a man nonetheless been with another man except Joseph But now she is starting to show that she is pregnant, and experts predict it was about the second trimester (4-6 months).
Back in the day, adulterous acts were punished by death.
Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she dies: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.
However, the Jewish community didn’t carry out the death penalty back in that time frame. Instead, they punished adulterous acts by public disgrace.
Joseph was worried when he found out that Mary was expecting a baby before their marriage had taken place. He wondered if he should put off the wedding altogether. Then an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said: ‘Don’t be afraid to have Mary as your wife.’ The angel explained that Mary had been chosen by God to be the mother of his Son and told Joseph that the baby would be named Jesus which means ‘Savior’ because he would save people. When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel had told him to do and took Mary as his wife.
Back in this time frame, a father was responsible for naming his son at the time of his circumcision (eight days after birth). The angel’s words implicitly command that Joseph accept his role as father of the child. In antiquity, names were often thought to be emblematic of the character or calling of the individual.
Joseph was instructed to name the baby Jesus. Translated from Hebrew meaning Yahweh saves. We have to remember that when they announce that He will save us from sin, is not only a political or royal messiah, but Jesus saves, even from sin.
Therefore, will I divide him a portion with the great, And he shall divide the spoil with the strong; Because he hath poured out his soul unto death: And he was numbered with the transgressors; And he bare the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.
At this time, the land where Mary and Joseph lived was part of the Roman Empire. The Roman Emperor Augustus wanted to have a list of all the people in the empire, to make sure they paid their taxes. He ordered everyone to return to the town where their families originally came from and enter their names in a register (or census) there.
Mary and Joseph traveled a long way (about 70 miles) from Nazareth to Bethlehem, because that is where Joseph’s family came from. Most people walked but some lucky people had a donkey to help carry the goods needed for the journey. Joseph and Mary traveled very slowly because Mary’s baby was due to be born soon.
When they reached Bethlehem, they had problems finding somewhere to stay. So many people had come to register their names in the census, that every house was full, and every bed was taken in all the guest rooms. The inn was full, but they offered them space in the barn.
So. in the place where the animals slept, Mary gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God.
In those days it was the custom to wrap newborn babies tightly in a long cloth called ‘swaddling clothes’. Jesus’ bed was the manger that the animals ate their hay from.
In the hills and fields outside Bethlehem, shepherds looked after their sheep through the long night. As the new day began, suddenly an angel appeared before them, and the glory of God shone around them.
The shepherds were very, very scared, but the angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid. I have good news for you and everyone. Today in Bethlehem a Savior has been born for you. You will find the baby lying in a manger.’.
Then many more angels appeared, lighting up the sky. The shepherds heard them praising God singing: ‘Glory to God in highest, and peace to everyone on earth.’ When the angels had gone the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem to see what has happened.’ So, the shepherds went to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph. The baby Jesus was lying in a manger as they had been told. When they saw him, they told everyone what the angel had said and everyone who heard the story were astonished. Then the shepherds returned to their sheep, praising God for sending his Son to be their Savior.
When Jesus was born, a brand-new bright star appeared in sky. Some Wise Men in faraway countries saw the star and guessed what it meant. They were very clever men that studied the stars and had read in very old writings that a new star would appear when a great king was born. They set out to find the new king and bring him gifts.
The Wise Men followed the star towards the country of Judea and when they got to the capital called Jerusalem, they began to ask people: ‘Where is the child who is born to be king of the Jews?’ Herod, the king of Judea, heard this and it made him very angry to think that someone might be going to take his place as king. Herod sent for the Wise Men to come to him. He told them to go on following the star until they had found the baby king. He said: ‘When you have found him, let me know where he is, so that I can go and worship him.’. But Herod did not tell them that he really had an evil plan in mind to kill the new king.
When the Wise Men had gone, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ the angel said, ‘take Jesus and Mary and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for Jesus to kill him.’
So, Joseph got up, took Jesus and Mary during the night they left for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod died.
Impossible to be pregnant with a baby and still be a Virgin but it happened thousands of years ago. Nothing is impossible with our God.
The reason for the season started with an impossible act and impossible things still happen today