My friend Scott sent me and a group of his brothers and sisters this email. I asked his permission to publish the email at our blog.  This shows up as if I wrote it.  I cannot figure out how to change that.  The author is Scott Howard.  Sorry….I caught the problem late.

It’s a few days before Christmas, a few days before the Messiah, Emmanuel, God with us, is born. You have to think that Mary and Joseph are on the road to take part in the census as they were commanded to do. The time is close and Mary must be pretty uncomfortable, under normal circumstances she would probably be in her home resting. But she is on the road walking or riding a donkey.

Joseph is beside her, worrying. What might be going through his mind? His young Bride on the road about to have a baby without any comforts, without her Mom or any other experienced women to help comfort and assure her. Maybe they should have disobeyed and stayed home till the baby was born.

But they have heard the Word of God. They know who this child is and will be. You have to think they have been in deep prayer together. Getting encouragement from God and giving encouragement to each other.

They arrive in Bethlehem , it’s crowded, they don’t know anyone, they can’t find a place to stay, Mary is in distress, she knows the baby is coming. I wonder how close the contractions were before they found a place, a stable, full of animals. Did they thank God for the soft hay? Were they perplexed that He didn’t provide an opulent room for His Son?

The baby is born, the Christ Child. Did they have help or was it just the two of them and God? They give thanks that all is well. The Son of Man is a healthy baby.

Shepherds arrive seeking the Christ Child, they speak of a star and angels singing. Wise men come next with fantastic gifts and stories of a long journey following a star.
What a wonderful time of praise there must have been.

After eight days they go to the temple and hear prophecy spoken about their son, God with Us. Shortly after they are warned to flee for their lives! They are not returning home. They must go to a foreign land, they are aliens.

As Jesus grows there must have been some strange thoughts. Comforting the Savior of the World over a scraped knee. Joseph wondering about the responsibility of being a good father to the Son of the Most High. Mary holds these things in her heart. She remembers what the angel told her. Imagine walking through town holding a little boys hand knowing that boy is Emmanuel, God with us.

Mary and Joseph watch their son grow, they lose him for three whole days. Praying, searching, did they have a panic of faith? Jesus says: I was in my Fathers House! Oh my! This is real! My son is set apart!

Mary sees the ministry begin, the miracles, the signs, the teaching, also the words of hate and disbelief, the threats to his life. She saw Him on the cross. She heard His cries. She saw the sun go dim and felt the ground shake.

Mary and Joseph went through all these things believing God. They trusted Him at His Word. They put their faith in His promises. They obeyed Him and walked in faith through many, many trials. They saw prophesy fulfilled through their son, God with Us. I don’t believe they understood all these things but they believed and trusted God to give the strength, wisdom and perseverance to see them to the next day.

Since last Thursday I have been stuck on a word, really a name. Emmanuel, God with us. This is what got me going on Mary and Joseph and what it might have been like to have the responsibility that God gave them and the faith involved to accomplish it.

My praise and prayer this Christmas is thanking our Father that we not only have Emmanuel, God with us, we have God IN us!! I thank Him for the miracle of His Son and pray for the strength of faith to trust Him during good times and difficult times. To always be in awe and wonder of His love and mercy and shed my selfishness and pride and walk humbly with my God trusting Him to give the strength, wisdom and perseverance to see me to the next day. To find my joy in Him. To find my joy in Emmanuel.
God with us.

May The Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
Love and Prayers and many Thanks for my Brothers and Sisters in Christ
and Merry Christmas!

Thank you Father for the message and the messenger.

About Jim Barnes

A man seeking to please the Lord. A man striving to abide in Christ Jesus. A man whose hope is to see just one more come into the fold.
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