“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

—Luke 2:33-35 (NLT)

My head kind of buzzes with dizziness when I try and take in all the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. So many fantastic things taking place! What a time in history it was! 

Angels appearing to ordinary people bringing extraordinary news. Fulfillment of ancient prophecy. A king becoming disturbed (and all of Jerusalem with him). A hope for the nation Israel and indeed—the world! An eternal change afoot… revealing the hearts of many. 

Here was a dividing line. A birth that rocked the world. Nothing could ever be the same again. God was speaking, but even more than that—God was acting. And He was using humble people to carry out His plan. 

The mission:  redemption. Call back humanity from the snare of Satan and the fall that took place in the garden of Eden. Provide a Savior in the person of God’s Son, the only One capable of being a divine link between God and man. A sinless Savior offering a sacrifice so that “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV).

The motivation:  love. 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,” (again John 3:16).

The result:  victory! Jesus perfectly fulfilled his mission to provide the love link to God the Father through His obedient sacrifice. 

And it all started with His incredible birth, more than two thousand years ago in a little town called Bethlehem. So humble and modest, some might even say obscure. Yet…

God works in the most surprising and delightful ways! At the same time, He is totally reliable and faithful. God held to His Word given to the prophet Micah when he wrote:  

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel,
whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” 

—Micah 5:2, NLT

I’ve heard it said that the number one reason for believing in Jesus and the inerrancy of Scripture is fulfilled prophecy. Strange things spoken hundreds of years earlier come to pass, all in God’s marvelously mysterious way. That’s not of man. Only God!

More prophecy was given to Mary at the dedication of baby Jesus at the temple. This is the verse I opened with (above). 

Eight days after Jesus’ birth, a man named Simeon spoke these prophetic words when he recognized baby Jesus as the Messiah. 

To me, this is a stop-in-your-tracks verse. 

“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

Can you imagine Mary and Joseph’s awe when a stranger approached them and spoke of their child in this way?

Of course, maybe by now they were getting used to unusual things happening, given the angels, and the shepherds, and the star, Herod, and the strange dreams.

When you walk closely with God, what seems strange to the outside world often strikes you differently. In a good way,  a supernatural way.  I like to think that Joseph and Mary realized their child was special, but didn’t see the entire picture from their limited timeline. 

However, this in and of itself, caused them to walk closely by faith throughout their days, relying on God as they saw His hand at work in their lives.

It’s a great lesson for us. God is at work in all of our ordinary lives. We may not have angels and dreams and stars and prophets approaching us, but God is at work. What we do have is Jesus! The best gift ever!

God rocked the world with His  birth at Bethlehem two thousand years ago, but God’s work in human history is not finished yet. 

I, for one, plan on following Him closely to watch the rest of the story unfold.

I hope you do, too!

Merry Christmas!

Beckie