The Greatest Love Story

 By Barbie Summers

 Reading: Luke 2:1-20

This is the first Devotional I have written, so I hope I don’t mess it up – lol. 

Every year my favorite part of Christmas is always the story of Jesus’ birth and seeing all the beautiful nativity scenes in people’s yards, houses, stores, churches, etc. 

Usually every year our Church Youth puts on a play based on the Christ Child’s birth, but this year we will not get to see that program due to COVID restrictions.  I will definitely miss seeing their program because all the children work so hard and do such a wonderful job. 

Another tradition that my husband and I do every year that was cancelled this year was the Christmas Pageant in Minden, NE.  Every year the City of Minden puts on what is called the Christmas Pageant, and what it consists of is some of the community participating in acting out the Christmas story while it is narrated from the speakers outside of the town square.  The only light during the program is the spotlights that are on the actors, otherwise, we are sitting under the beautiful night sky, with stars shining, cuddled in a blanket and drinking hot chocolate or cappuccino and listening to the beginning of the Greatest Love Story ever told.  At the end of the program, which goes for about 30 minutes, all the Town Square is lit up in beautiful Christmas Lights to mark the birth of the Light of the World. 

I was very sad to not be able to participate in this ritual this year.  While deep down I know that these traditions and being in the church building is not what this story is really all about, it is what brings it to life for me every year. 

But this year I have looked at this story in a new way.  Mary and Joseph did not have family or friends to celebrate Jesus’ birth with them, they had a stable, some animals, each other, and a manger. 

They were not surrounded by beautiful Christmas lights and decorations.  They did not get to listen to beautiful Christmas carols being sung.  Their Christmas music was the sound of the animals in the stable. 

How scared Mary must have been going through labor and childbirth with only Joseph to assist her, no doctors or nurses. 

And Joseph watching Mary be in this pain and trying to assist her, knowing that the child she was about to bring into this world was not of his blood, yet knowing he would raise Jesus as his own son and knowing that Jesus was being entrusted for him and Mary to raise into the man that would do great things and bring salvation to the world.

What mixed feelings Joseph must have had, yet Mary and Joseph never questioned God’s plan for them.  The Shepherds that were approached by the Angel never questioned God, although I am sure this was a scary event for them.

I am always in awe at the faith and trust that Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds had in God and the angel of the Lord, and I always wonder to myself why I do not show that kind of faith.  I love this story and my heart and soul are so touched by this story, and yet it is so hard for me to show this kind of faith in the Lord and His Word and I really don’t understand why, other than it is my humanness and that is why I need Jesus, otherwise I would not be forgiven of my transgressions. 

Earlier this year I was so ashamed of my lack of faith in God and my anger that I displayed, especially now when I again dig into the Christmas Story and remember exactly how much God loved me.  God sent a babe in a manger that would grow into a man that teaches God’s Word, then breaks bread with His disciples, even the disciple that Jesus knew betrayed Him, and another disciple that would deny him then is tortured and crucified to take up our sin, and then came back 3 days later defeating death and giving us the chance at eternal life and salvation from our sins. 

There is no Love Story greater than this one. 

Jesus loved us enough to sacrifice everything to save his people and all future generations, including you and me.  

Prayer: Heavenly Father – We thank you for the greatest gift ever given, a babe in a manger.  We thank you for the New Covenant that was started with the Birth of Jesus.  Please continue to guide us in our desire to learn and understand your word and to bring your Word to others.  Please give comfort to those this Christmas season who cannot be with loved ones or who may have lost loved ones this year.  Please let them feel your presence and love.  Thank You, Lord, for all the blessings that you have bestowed on me and my family, and thank you for our good health. 

I love you Jesus and Happy Birthday. 

Amen.

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