On this bitterly cold and windy night, the thermometer reads 0º. I go outside and walk a little while, bundled up, until I shiver. Now it feels good to be inside. I think of the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. The difficulties facing them on the journey and then finding no room in an inn. Did they realize what the blessing of being the parents of Jesus would cost? Jesus surely knew what it would cost them and him to leave heaven and live as one of us and among us.
I never tire of reading the story and telling the story of the birth of Jesus. Each year something new and different emerges while I read and think about it. The Christmas story includes those who welcome the birth of Jesus and His significance. While the same story includes those who fear the birth of Christ and try to kill the infant Jesus. Both of these groups encounter difficulties. The shepherds, the wise men, Simeon, and Anna embraced life. Herod and his ilk embraced death by slaughtering the children of Bethlehem.
Blessings come with responsibilities. Some blessings come with a cross and grief. However, the plan of God was to save us from our sin, deliver us from our captivity, give us His peace and joy! I have grieved and rejoiced during Advent as I have thought and prayed about this. God doesn’t bless us to make us consumers. His blessings confer upon us a responsibility to serve Him by serving others. Do we welcome the baby born in a rough stable who came to serve? Or do we wish to preserve the glittering palaces of the powerful who wish to be served?