A Christmas Story
Her mother told her conception felt like someone lit a candle deep inside your belly. No one could see it or feel the tiny spark, but you knew it was there. Love for your husband, who planted the seed, overwhelms you and you can’t stop smiling about your shared secret.
Mary thought about that conversation as she lay on her pallet looking at the stars. She remembered being surrounded by the greatest love she had ever felt when the angel appeared. It was as if she were walking on air, wrapped in a cloud of light.
She also felt a spark. She knew what the angel told her had come true. But in the darkness, she felt alone. She knew the consequences of becoming pregnant before marriage.
That’s when she noticed it. A star that was brighter than all the others. She had never seen this star before. She recognized the familiar constellations and this star was not part of them. She felt reassured that God was watching over her.
Meanwhile, far to the east, 3 separate men noticed the same star. It confounded the astrologers because they had not seen it before. It was not notated on any of their charts. They got together to compare notes.
When Mary learned cousin Elizabeth was pregnant, she traveled to visit her. Elizabeth amazed her when she told Mary her baby jumped for joy when they hugged. She knew her child was the Son of God. God had a special plan for Elizabeth’s child too.
Before retiring, Mary stepped outside and looked up. Her star had moved with her! It seemed over her head. God was still watching over her.
It astonished the astrologers; the star they had been carefully adding to their charts had moved! All three of them had placed it exactly in the same place on their charts. They started making new charts.
After 3 months, Mary returned home. Her pregnancy was showing now, but she trusted God and Joseph. The same angel visited Joseph after she shared her news. He told her he would marry her after the child was born. They were legally engaged and it could only be broken through a divorce.
The wise men were stumped. They worked so hard on those new charts and the star seemed to have moved back! How can this be?
There were Jews still living in the east. They were descendants of the ones who decided not to return to Jerusalem after the exile to Babylon. The wise men met with a few of the trusted Rabbis and asked about the star. The Rabbis told them that a Messiah would be born who would become the King of the Jews. The wise men decided to go to Jerusalem to meet this king.
It was a long journey and they were only a few weeks away from Jerusalem when the star started moving again. Discouraged because they had come so far, they decided to keep following the star.
Meanwhile, Mary and Joseph had to leave Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem. Joseph had to go there for the census Caesar Augustus ordered. They traveled slowly. Joseph let Mary rest every few hours because she was near the end of her pregnancy.
The day they reached Bethlehem, Mary could no longer pretend she was aching from the trip. She knew she was in labor. She looked up and the star was still there, directly overhead. God was still overshadowing her.
She longed for a warm place to lie down. But Bethlehem was a small town with only one inn. She could see families camping along the side of the road.
When Joseph led her into the cave she welcomed the waves of heat. There were many animals in the cave and hay stored in the back of it. She gratefully stretched out on the hay mow.
The wise men had enough of following a star that kept moving! They decided to go to the reigning king to see if his heir had been born. King Herod was old and his wife was not pregnant. The wise men asked to speak to some Rabbis. The Rabbis knew the scriptures and told them the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
The wise men set out for Bethlehem, relieved that the star had stopped and stayed. It shone brighter than it ever had before.
They found Joseph, Mary, and Jesus under the star. They presented three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They camped on the edge of Bethlehem and marveled at the brightness of the star. It was as bright as morning. They had met Jesus, the Bright Morning Star, (see Revelation 22:16).
Matthew 2:2, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” New Living Translation
Dear Father God,
Thank You for enabling me to conceive three times. Thank You for being with me during the months of bed rest. Thank You for the three gifts you gave to me: Luke, Laura, and Derek.
In Jesus Name,
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