I hope you all had a nice Independence Day yesterday. Today, as we begin this week, let's focus on the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus. Today's devotion is from our book Extreme Devotion and is about the birth of Jesus. Great place to begin the week.
“This isn’t how I envisioned us having our first baby,” said the young woman between contractions. “Are you sure this is clean enough?” she asked her fiancé, Joseph.
“I don’t know, honey,” he said, concerned. “But it’s what we’ve got. We know God’s going to protect this baby. He must have some plan in us having it here.”
As another painful contraction came, her fiancé advised, “Try to breathe through it,” and wiped her face with a damp rag. “Hang on . . . should be just a few more minutes.”
She said through gritted teeth, “I wanted to have the baby in my own house. I wanted my mother to be there to help me.”
“I’m here to help you,” Joseph said, “so we’ll just have to get along by ourselves. And we both know God’s here, too.” Then he weakly joked, “If we need more help, we’ve always got the cows and the sheep next door.”
The contraction passed, and Mary smiled at her new fiancé. At the next contraction, Mary began to push. Soon, her son entered the world. They named him Jesus, just as the angel instructed.
We sometimes forget the hardship that Joseph and Mary endured to deliver the King of kings: a stable for a delivery room, exile into Egypt, poverty, and scandal. Yet they endured everything willingly out of love for God.
As we read the Bible, we may think that believing God’s promises would be easier if he packaged them with some definitive sign, like an angelic messenger. Yet even Mary, who received such a sign, had her doubts. When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth to God’s Son, it probably sounded like the unthinkable. She asked Gabriel, “How will this be . . . since I am a virgin?” Despite her concerns, Mary chose to willingly believe God’s promise and obey him. Her simple willingness brought God’s plan of salvation to the world. Is God calling you to willingness despite your doubts? Like Mary, your willingness to obey could have an eternal impact in God’s kingdom.