We are so blessed to be able to meet at different times this weekend for special Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship Services.
On that first Christmas Eve, Mary and Joseph arrived in the little town of Bethlehem, five miles outside the big city of Jerusalem. It was normally a quiet village, but it was now the destination for descendants of King David who were instructed to report to their ancestor’s hometown for a census as a part of taxation by the conquering Roman Empire.
Bethlehem was overrun with distant relatives and total strangers. Makeshift inns and hostels sprang up overnight. Perhaps rowdy parties were everywhere. It is stunning to realize that thousands of people were milling around for a boring registration and completely unaware that they were at ground zero of a Heavenly invasion. Who knows how many walked past the stable where Jesus was born. Most probably did not say, “We’ll be praying for you; Shalom.” They probably turned up their noses at the stinky shepherds who brushed past them on the way to the manger. Truly, the innkeeper who had blown off Joseph and Mary was oblivious to how Eternity was about to infiltrate time and space… as a baby.
Joseph and Mary would have been considered nobodys from a nothing town, just poor, uneducated peasants. The mystery of grace is that God humbled and reduced Himself to an infant and entrusted Himself to Mary and Joseph. They were not helpless pawns caught up in the movements of secular history but vessels of honor directed by the hand of God. The baby Mary carried was not a Caesar, a sinful man who would audaciously claim to be a god, but the Great God who became a man!
As you are in a weekend Christmas Eve service, you may feel helpless and hopeless, insignificant and incapable of rejoicing. The Lord has a plan for you just as He did for that couple and that baby. Even though you are “poor in spirit,” you realize that Jesus offers “the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:3). There is room for you in “the inn” of our church and most of all in the arms of the loving Father. The Lord wants to give “knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:77) and “light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79). From all of us at First Baptist Church and particularly from your pastors and their families, we want to wish you a very blessed Christmas!