“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:4)
For most families, Christmas is a time for traditions. Year to year, decorations are brought down from the attic, favorite meals are prepared and family members come together. But, why? What is the reason behind the gifts, the cheery music and the time off of work? What actually happened all those years ago that separated this day from any other?
Christians agree that the birth of Jesus Christ is the “reason for the season,” yet more often than not, this idea is lost in the midst of the holiday madness. This Christmas, challenge yourself to approach the holiday with fresh eyes. Allow yourself to be awed by the beauty of Mary’s faith, Joseph’s obedience and the miraculous birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The faith that Mary demonstrated throughout her pregnancy is frequently overlooked during the telling of Jesus’s birth. Mary was a young woman from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, engaged to a man named Joseph. One day, God sent an angel to Mary to deliver the news that she will carry the Son of God. The Bible says that Mary was troubled by the news, and the angel said: “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus” (Luke 1:30-31).
Despite Mary’s fear and confusion, she responded by saying, “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38). Mary demonstrated incredible faith by believing and accepting the angel’s message. The doubts and worries Mary was most likely experiencing did not hinder her from living out God’s plan for her life.
Matthew 1:19 tells us that when Mary told Joseph of her pregnancy, he wanted to divorce her, but wanted to do so secretly, sparing her public ridicule and death by stoning. Later on, Joseph was visited by an angel in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take your wife Mary home, for what has been conceived in her is by Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
No matter what Joseph was feeling, whether he thought Mary was a cheater, a liar or just crazy, he obeyed the Lord. He kept his engagement to Mary, later married her and became the earthly father of Jesus. Joseph’s obedience reminds us that God’s plan is one much bigger than our own and that we must trust exactly what He tell us.
Though Mary and Joseph were devoted followers of God, exercised impressive faith and obedience and contributed to the beauty of the birth of Christ, they do not compare to the significance of who Jesus was and what He would later do for all of the world.
Jesus was born in a manger, foreshadowing the humble and servant-focused life he would live out. Jesus’s birth was the beginning of God’s rescue mission for His children and that is the true meaning of Christmas. He is the reason for the honey hams, the stocking stuffers and the celebration. The day that Jesus entered the Earth, the world was changed forever. That day, God blessed the world with more love and grace than we could ever understand or deserve.
As a missional community, Grand Canyon University has the unique opportunity to welcome students, faculty and staff from all walks of life. To learn more about GCU’s Christian identity and heritage, visit our website or use the Request More Information button at the top of the page.