Sunday, December 23

Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV)

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”
(which means “God with us”).

“Only one more sleep,” my brothers and I would exclaim. The 23rd was always an exciting day for us, because Christmas Eve was coming! Part of the joy of Christmas is the anticipation.

I often consider how exhausting it was for my mother with three giggly, wiggly kids waiting for a special day. All the while she must have had plenty to do! Bless her!

Still, she kept us busy as we all looked forward to our exciting day to come!

For my family, Christmas Eve was centered around worship services. We had a 6:00 and 11:00 service, and between the two we had a special dinner (cheese, crackers, and oyster stew), then we got to open our one present for the night – new PJ’S!!!!

When we were little, we wore our new jammies to the 11:00 service and sat in the balcony with the choir. Inevitably, we’d fall asleep during the hushed service, but we’d wake up for the candle lighting! It was the most special part of Christmas Eve.

As you look forward to Christmas Eve, may you do so with joyful excitement. Forget the tasks before you, even if for just a moment, and marvel at what is to come. Mary and Joseph listened to God’s angels and took off on a journey to Bethlehem, where a new baby, the MESSIAH would be born. That is far more important than all the chores! Let’s giggle and wiggle in joyful anticipation!

Pray: Lord, we are waiting for your arrival. Only one more sleep! Help us to stop for a moment and remember the awe of Mary and Joseph’s trust in you so that the birth of our Messiah would arrive. Amen.