Mary & Joseph

Message from Pastor Maria

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. -Luke 2:16

It’s the season of hustle and bustle, running around like the proverbial chicken. There’s so much to do! Putting lights on the house, getting the Christmas tree, trying to hit the sales, baking cookies until the wee hours of the morning, wrapping presents when no one’s around to peek… it’s mayhem!

I read an article by Karen Ehman the other day that talked about this hustle and bustle. In it, she wondered “if the participants in the original Christmas story ever dreamed that the celebration of Christ’s birth would become so hassled and hurried. The shepherds? The angels? The wise men? Mary and Joseph too?”

I hadn’t thought about that before. Would they have imagined such hustle and bustle around celebrating Jesus’ birth? Then I wondered if there was rushing about when Jesus was born. Anyone who’s rushed to the hospital for the birth of a baby might say, yes, there probably was! But how many of us ever really thought about that until just now? I know I hadn’t!

From the account of Jesus’ birth in Luke chapter 2, it’s not clear how long Mary & Joseph were in Bethlehem before Mary went into labor, but when they were traveling, I bet Mary was wishing they’d get there more quickly than they did! Can you imagine knowing the birth of your first child would be any day now, while being on the road between towns for long stretches of time? Yikes!

When we read Luke 2, we find out there was some rushing the night Jesus was born. An angel appeared to the shepherds and told them that the Messiah had been born. Suddenly a whole army of angels appeared to sing the good news!

Then, Luke says,
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. (Luke 2:15-16)

The shepherds hurried! They put some hustle in their step and rushed to the newborn Messiah. I wonder what they were like when they got there.

Have you ever visited a newborn baby? You might hurry to get there, but most of us slow down to enter the room, and we approach with quiet and awe, don’t we? We stop and drink in the moment. We stop. We marvel.

I imagine that’s how the shepherds approached Jesus in the manger: quietly, with reverence and awe. I suspect they stopped and marveled at what God had done: God sent a Savior, the Messiah!

In this season of hustle and bustle, can we find moments to stop and savor what God has done? Like loved ones rushing to visit a newborn, can we stop in Jesus’ presence and just be for a while? Instead of rushing to the store, can we rush to spend time with Jesus?

Maybe it’s taking a quiet moment in the morning before you pick up your phone or newspaper or turn on the TV. Or maybe you’re longing to crack open your Bible but don’t know where to start. If that’s the case, I suggest reading Luke 1 over this week and next.
You could read Luke 2 the following week.
You could read Matthew 1:18-25 in the week leading up to Christmas.

There’s a lot going on right now, so take some unhurried moments in this time of Advent and spend them with Jesus. If you need permission, God gives you permission to look at your hustle & bustle and to scale back where you need to! Everyone needs to be able to pause. Especially if pausing means spending time with Jesus this Advent.

Blessings to you in this season!

~Pastor Maria