When it comes to the birth of Jesus, there are things about the story that seem obvious. A government requires a census so they can collect the proper taxes. A young woman who is nine months into a scandalous pregnancy gives birth. Some relatives are supportive of her, while others in the community are suspicious of her character (hinted at in John 8). And so, a poor young couple has to make do with sketchy accommodations at the end of a long journey without enjoying the warm embrace of family.
All of these observations are available to the casual observer. We do not need God’s help to see them. However, to really see beyond the obvious requires supernatural intervention. The people of the Lord’s day needed God’s miraculous revelation to see Jesus as He really was.
God intervened in unexpected ways, beginning with the Annunciation of Jesus’ birth to Mary, which was preceded by a similar pronouncement to Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1:11-17 and 26-28). It continued when God reassured Joseph that his bride was chaste, and the Holy Spirit had conceived her child (Matt. 1:20-21). We also see God using a miraculous star (Matt. 2:1-2), ancient prophecies (Matt. 2:5-6), the Holy Spirit’s infilling (Luke 1:41-42), and an angelic host (Luke 2:13) as part of His plan.
God used all of these remarkable means to do one thing: He revealed His Son to a people who had waited generations for the promised Messiah’s coming. They needed God’s supernatural involvement to see, know and worship Jesus. Otherwise they might have missed the opportunity to welcome Messiah, distracted by the everyday circumstances of their lives, the “cares of the world,” as the Bible puts it (Mark 4:19, ESV). That is still true of people today. This is why it’s important for us to remember these simple truths as we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas:
- Spiritual insight always rests on God’s revelation and intervention.
- God always takes the initiative, inviting us to respond to Him with trust and love.
- God intends for Jesus to be known and worshiped (Phil. 2:9-11), and He will go to remarkable lengths to ensure that response.
- The things that limit us do not limit God. We can’t even imagine the options at His disposal!
“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’” (Luke 2:15, NIV).
Prayer + Reflection
- Release the cares of this world to the Lord, and allow Him to take the burden of worry off your shoulders.
- Ask God to open your eyes with His supernatural intervention, that you would see His works and wonders all around you.
- Prepare your heart to receive the Lord, and make “room” for Him each day this week.
- Ask the Lord for His continued protection over those traveling, healing of those stricken with illness and comfort for those separated from loved ones and family this season.
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