"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. " Luke 2: 1- 7 (ESV)
Mary is ready; her womb is heavy, her heart pounds hard, she knows the days are getting closer. She can't no longer sleep well, and her lower back hurts. But she follows her husband; they travel to Bethlehem to fulfill an order of a man who did not know that his order was only the result of a Sovereign decree.
They journey under His sun to meet the greatest miracle of all, to see God's promise fulfilled, to meet the Saviour of the world face to face. They walk a long walk with the Word of God ahead of them; leading them; Do they realize that the Word of God is in Mary's womb?
They walk one more day, they knock one more door; they hope for one place to rest, a place to lay the soon-to-be-born Baby's head; but they found none.
The waiting is almost over for them, the Advent is almost over for us; we have meditated, we have read, we have pondered; we have studied what this magnificent word Incarnation means. We want to see Him; O how we long for His presence!
Today, I feel like Mary, full of Him, full of awe. I don't have the Son of God in my womb; I have Him in my heart; the Holy Spirit came to Mary once, but He dwells within me daily. The Word has been growing deep in me, changing me; I, too, walk under His sun expecting the day I will see Him face to face. Mary and Joseph were always led by God, day after day, they were led by the Spirit to meet their Saviour; so we are.
We, Christians, are like Mary, chosen by God to see Him one day face to face; to embrace His Grace, to behold His glory.
This Christmas, I am reminded that I am only on a daily journey; no matter how heavy the burden might be, how rough the road might be, no matter how many doors I knock and how many of them remain closed; His Word leads me, His holy Spirit dwells within me; Christ is being formed in me; I walk daily to the day I will see Him face to face.
Calvin's words come to my heart and meet me this Advent season; he says of Mary,
"She should be to us a mirror of God's mercy. For in mercy God chose us for Himself, sinners though we were, rescued us from the abyss of death and had compassion on us. Mary is thus set before us as an example to imitate. with her we acknowledge that we are nothing, that we count for nothing, and are utterly reliant on God's goodness. That is how we can be Mary's pupils, proving by our aptness that we have been attentive to her teaching" (1)
I pray that God will give us grace to magnify God our Saviour daily as we journey under His sun, led by His Holy Spirit; fed with His Word. O, that Christ may be formed in us!
How I long to walk full of Him until the day I see Him face to face in all His glory!
Merry Christmas, to you, my Christian friend!
(1) John Calvin, Songs of the Nativity; Selected Sermons on Luke 1& 2