Once upon a time, long ago and far away, in a small town out in the desert, there lived a young girl. She lived in a small home with her mother and her father and her brothers and sisters. They had a dog and a cat and many other animals. Her mother kept the house and her father brought home the food. She was only sixteen, but already her boyfriend had asked for her hand in marriage, as was the custom in her little town. Her father had agreed, so she was engaged to be married. Her fiancé and her were never alone, though. Everywhere that they went, her family would follow, so they hadn’t even kissed yet. Her fiancé was older than she was, but she loved him. He made a good living and she was excited about having a home of her own and someday, children.
It was kind of chilly one night and the young girl snuggled farther into her blanket to keep warm when all of a sudden there was a blinding light that filled the whole room! She was terrified! A voice came to her saying, "Fear Not, Mary! I am Gabriel, an angel of the Lord God. I was sent to give you a message. You are highly favored! And the Lord is with you. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end!”
Mary was astonished and asked the angel, “How can this be? I’m not even married to Joseph and I am still a virgin?”
The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will over shadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God!”
“I am my Lord’s servant,” Mary answered, “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
The next day Mary convinced her parents to let her visit her cousin Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth saw Mary and hugged her, the child in Elizabeth’s belly leaped for joy! Elizabeth proclaimed that Mary and her child were highly blessed of God. “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Mary stayed with Elizabeth until her son, John, was born and then returned to face Joseph back in Nazareth.
Joseph was unsure about what to do at first, but he knew Mary and he knew her family, they were good, God-fearing people and so he decided that he would marry her anyway, after all he loved her very much. He would believe what the Lord had said to Mary and he looked forward to the birth of this special child. He took Mary with him to register with the census in Bethlehem. Mary was almost ready to give birth and he hated to have to make the journey with her, but they had to go. It was ordered by Cesar and Joseph decided that it would be worse if they didn’t obey.
When they arrived in Bethlehem, it was very late. Mary was very tired, so Joseph looked for a place for them to stay the night. All the comfortable inns were full. So Joseph took Mary into the barn, and finding an empty stall, made up a bed for her to lie on. He saw the pained crease on her brow, Mary was in pain! Mary reached out and grabbed his arm, “The baby is coming! Please help me!” Joseph comforted her and helped her deliver their child right there in the manger. They obeyed God again and named him Jesus. He was cute and chubby and barely cried. His parents loved him instantly.
Meanwhile, there were some shepherd’s out in the fields tending to the flocks of sheep. They, too had come to register for the census. They noticed that the stars were particularly bright that night and it made it easier to see all the animals in their charge. They were settling in for the night when, all of a sudden an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shown all around them! They were terrified! But the angel smiled and said to them, “Do not be afraid! I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Christ, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”
When the angels left them and had gone back into heaven, the shepherds looked at each other and scrambled for their bags shouting to one another “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about!” So they hurried off to the town. They found the manger and went in quietly. They found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the hay with his mother. They were amazed! They went and told everyone about the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ!
This is the reason for Christmas. This is what we celebrate. The birth of this one baby changed the whole world. Remember why we celebrate this Christmas. Take some time to reflect on the way the world changed from this one moment. Jesus Christ is Lord! Alleluia!! Merry Christmas Everyone.