“3 Journeys to Bethlehem”
Christmas seems to be either the best or worst time of the year for people. I believe in the power of displacement. If you want to get rid of the negative thing, give place to the more powerful positive thing and it will push the negative out.
There were three different journeys made to Bethlehem by three different groups of people. They represent three actions that create a beautiful plan of God for your life. My prayer is that during this week of celebrating the true reason for the season, Christ Jesus, you will find a new dimension of God’s holy presence dwelling, not only in your home but also in your hearts as a family that will negate the negative.
The Promise-Birthers – Mary & Joseph
A flat tire at the moment you are in the biggest hurry. A rip in your only remaining pair of hose requiring you to run by the store on your way to an important appointment. Kids, a big day at the water park cancelled because of an emergency problem mom and dad have to fix. Life is full of unexpected and unfortunate delays. Why do they happen? Why me? Why now? Sometimes God has to allow these things to inconvenience us onto another pathway to get us back on track with a great blessing, or to save us from destruction. Mary and Joseph did not have a baby that would become the Savior of the world in their plans when they got engaged to be married. But He came and now she is pregnant with the Son of God. She is just about to deliver when Caesar Augustus gets the bright idea to find out how many people are in his kingdom. He decides to count them and demands that everyone travel back to the town in which they were born. This hits at the worst time for Mary. She stands staring at that rough-riding mule and then at her pregnant belly, takes a big sigh, maybe, and then gets on preparing for the long, bumpy ride. What they may not have realized is that the prophets had told that the Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem. The problem? They lived in Nazareth. Their unexpected inconvenience was designed to get them in line to fulfill God’s prophecy in their lives. Later on, Jesus would call Himself the “bread of life.” Where is bread made? In a house of bread. Guess what “Bethlehem” means. House of bread! Yes! God thinks of everything! Instead of complaining about where you are, start thanking God for His redirect that’s getting you in the right place to give birth to a beautiful promise. Mary and Joseph thought it was bad news at first, but later on they were praising God for the birth of the awesome Blessing in their lives. Jesus wants to born in your life to bring Heaven down into your heart and home and to shine His light through you to a dark world.
The Promise-Worshippers – The Wise Men
Several very wealthy rulers from the east set out to worship the King of all kings who they heard was going to be born in Israel. Not knowing where to go, they were given a star by God to follow. This, in itself, was miraculous because these guys were probably not Jews. They were outsiders. The devil will try to tell you that you are not the right stuff to come worship Christ, but that didn’t stop these guys. When their worldly knowledge and wisdom could not tell them how to find Christ, they found the answer in the heavens. God is waiting for us to admit we can’t make it to Him alone. When we do, He will show up supernaturally. But, when they got to the city of Jerusalem, they took their eyes off of the star and began to ask people where the King was supposed to be born. This got them an audience with the “devil” himself, King Herod, who had a wicked heart. Taking our eyes off of the things of God and choosing to live according to the knowledge of the “flesh” can lead to our demise. After a very limited answer, they exited the king’s palace and began their search again. They knew the Christ was supposed to be born in Bethlehem now, but no details. When they focused on the heavens again, the star reappeared. God is always right there waiting for us to come back! The star led them straight to the house where Jesus was.
When there they arrived, they first bowed and worshipped Him and then they laid their gifts at His feet – gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The gold declared His Kingship. The incense declared His Godhood as receiving worship. The myrrh declared His death as Man. When we come to Christ as the Promise-worshippers, we first should give ourselves and then our substance. Some give themselves but not their stuff. Others give their stuff but not themselves. God wants both. This is a beautiful pattern set by the wise men.
The Promise-Heralders – The Shepherds
When God chose to get the message out that Christ was born, who did He choose? Not a king, not religious leaders, but common shepherds. The point is God is not looking for pedigree, just honest, pure hearts; someone who will hear His Word and then say it just like He said it. He will speak His promise to you through His written word, through dreams and visions, and sometimes a billboard on the side of the road or in a movie theater. God is the originator of creativity.
So, during this Christmas week and all through the new year, let us seek to give birth to the beautiful Promise of Christ through our lives. Let us then worship Him so that He receives glory from every aspect of who we are. Finally, let us proclaim His majesty through our words and actions on a daily basis.
Be born in me, O Holy Spirit
And let my life be lost in Thine
And let the world see only You Lord
Be born in me, O Christ Divine
May the love, peace and joy of Jesus Christ reside in your home and hearts now. You are greatly loved by the Heavenly Father and you have a destiny according to the plan He has made for you since the beginning of time. We love you!
Pastor Kevin & Melissa Herrin