by Linda Veath
About this time Caesar Augustus, the Roman emperor, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the nation. (This census was taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) Everyone was required to return to his ancestral home for this registration. And because Joseph was a member of the royal line, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, King David’s ancient home—journeying there from the Galilean village of Nazareth. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was obviously pregnant by this time.
Oh, God, You Who control history, You Who guaranteed that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem, You Who journeyed with Joseph and Mary, we lift our lives to you, knowing that Your plan for us is perfect. We thank You that You journey with us, and even when the path is long and uncomfortable, we are assured that it has meaning in Your eyes.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born; and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.
Heavenly Father, it is so hard for us to fully comprehend the Eternal Son of God taking on flesh, born of a woman. The greatest miracle in the world happened quietly in a stable in an obscure village of Judea. As Mary wrapped your Son in a blanket, may You wrap us in the blanket of your mercy and grace.
That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly an angel appeared among them, and the landscape shone bright with the glory of the Lord. They were badly frightened, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone! The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem! How will you recognize him? You will find a baby wrapped in a blanket, lying in a manger!”