Conclusion: I Don’t Know How To Tell You This, But I’m Pregnant

The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day. I say to myself,
"The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!"
Lamentations 3:22-24 (NASB)



Word spread quickly throughout Bethlehem that the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah had been fulfilled. The truth became known. Mary, the young, unmarried pregnant girl, had not told a lie. She was the one the prophet Isaiah had spoken of when he said, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) True to what the prophet Micah had predicted, the child was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Mary must have felt more at ease now about how others viewed her suspicious pregnancy. Believers came to worship and adore the child, and they recognized that God had chosen Mary to give Him birth.

In another place, God was revealing the next piece of His Christmas puzzle—the star. Contrary to our modern-day interpretation of Christmas symbols, the star was likely a subtle sign and not a bright heavenly body hovering over the stable in Bethlehem. Had it been a glaring white light, the whole countryside would have seen and wondered, but the Bible doesn’t say that. Instead, Magi, wise men from the East, noticed something different in the sky. These men from a powerful, priestly tribe, many miles from Bethlehem, were astronomers, and they determined that this was “His star,” the Messiah. Matthew 2:1-2 tells us: After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

The Bible goes on to suggest that King Herod was clueless about the star and also Christ’s birth. He felt threatened when he heard about this King of the Jews, so he called his religious leaders and asked what the scriptures said about the Messiah and the place of His birth. Then Herod sent the Magi to Bethlehem. “Go and search carefully for the child,” he said. “As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” (Matthew 2:8)

The star acted differently then. It appeared to move, and it led the Magi directly to Jesus. They bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. (Matthew 2:11-12)

Herod felt furious that the Magi had betrayed him. He had just enough information to know the approximate time of Jesus’ birth and where He might be. So, Herod ordered his soldiers to go to Bethlehem and kill all the baby boys ages two and under. This foreshadowed Jesus’ fate. Throughout His life there would be those who wanted to kill Him. But, for now, the young Messiah, King of the Jews, was safe.

Just as an angel was the first piece of God’s Christmas puzzle, so it was the last. An angel appeared in a dream to Joseph and warned him of Herod’s plan. Now, all the pieces of God’s Christmas puzzle were in place. The angel told Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt and later to Nazareth where they would raise the boy.

Shrouded in the silent simplicity of that first Christmas, God had begun working His mighty plan of salvation. He continues to work that plan today, quietly, piece by piece, out of our sight and apart from our comprehension. As we approach this new year, we can only imagine what 2012 will hold. Like Mary, a young woman, unmarried and pregnant, we go forward in faith, trusting God and believing in His power to lead us and provide for us.

I pray that all of you will have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.





Part 4: I Don’t Know How To Tell You This, But I’m Pregnant

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:11 (KJV)

In the depth of night, Mary gave birth to a baby boy—Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah. She wrapped him firmly in swaddling cloth and laid him in a manger. The little town of Bethlehem slept. There was no fanfare, no celebration, only the adoration of two proud surrogates who knew this baby was not their own, but the Son of God. In the darkness, the Lord had gently slipped into Earth’s presence, His spirit resting in the body of an innocent newborn child.

As they gazed at the sleeping baby, Mary and Joseph might have wondered, what now? Was it God’s will that they keep Jesus a secret until He was ready to reveal His plan, or did God want them to tell the world? And who would believe them? Certainly in the stillness of the night, these young parents prayed and asked Heaven for guidance. As they prayed, God revealed the next piece of His Christmas puzzle. We find it in Luke 2: 8-18.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said 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 and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
Mary and Joseph had received a quick answer to prayer. God planned for shepherds to deliver the news that Christ, the Messiah, was born in Bethlehem.

Why shepherds? For the same reason that the Son of God was born in a simple and modest setting—humility. Christ came into this world not as a rich and mighty king, but instead poor and needy. He came for those who, like shepherds, had many responsibilities but few resources. He came to redeem not only the poor shepherds of the world, but also the world’s lost sheep. Everything about that first Christmas was clothed in humility. That night began the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy about Jesus the Messiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoner and recovery of sight for the blind, 
to set the oppressed free . . .” Jesus had come for the poor in spirit, to open their eyes to salvation and to set them free from Satan’s lair.


Luke writes, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Surely, now she understood that she and Joseph had been right to take the high road, that it was God’s plan for His Son to be born among animals and laid in a manger. It was God’s plan for poor shepherds to be the first to come, honor Him, and share the Good News.

Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

These days as you shop for last-minute Christmas gifts, wrap presents, and prepare to celebrate the holiday with family and friends, do you ponder the events of that first Christmas night in Bethlehem? Do you treasure them in your heart?








Part 3: I Don’t Know How To Tell You This, But I’m Pregnant

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7 (KJV)


The Bible provides us with a simple outline of the Christmas story, but it leaves the details to our imaginations. Perhaps, as I suggested in my last post, Joseph chose the high road: the shortest route, the road more difficult to travel. Maybe he borrowed a donkey for Mary to ride. We don’t know. But let’s continue to imagine what might have been.

As they walked the dusty road, steep hills and low valleys, did Mary and Joseph share their worries aloud, or did they travel silently, feigning that their faith in God was solid? They were human, after all. And humans doubt. Did Mary wonder, have we done the right thing? Surely, God wouldn’t want His son born in a small and ordinary town. Certainly, He would want Him to enter the world in a place fit for a king. There was nothing kingly about Bethlehem.

When they arrived there, the place teemed with travelers who, like Mary and Joseph, had come to be counted. Where would the young couple stay? Did they have relatives in Bethlehem? If so, would they want Mary in their home, a woman who had become pregnant before marriage? We can only imagine the thoughts that Mary was thinking as she and Joseph wandered through the city among the crowds.

The Bible says that there was no room for them in the inn. Bible scholars translate this in different ways, but the consensus is that there was no space for them in the guest room. Whose guest room? It doesn’t matter. Wherever they went in Bethlehem, whether to family, friends, or a traditional inn, there was no space for them to stay. So they found lodging in an area where animals were kept, a place with a manger. And this place was the next piece of God’s Christmas puzzle. Christ the Savior was to be born in the simplest of settings, and his bed would be a lowly manger.

As Mary and Joseph waited, hours or days, for the child to be born, did they doubt that they were in the right place, that they had done the right thing according to God’s will? They were in a stable and not in a palace or a temple fit for the birth of the King.

There is that old adage that goes, “God works in mysterious ways.” Usually, those ways are not what we expect. God moves easily and quietly, assembling the pieces of His plan in ways that we cannot understand. That first Christmas in Bethlehem was set in simplicity, and not grandeur. Yet, God was there—fully, totally, completely.

O, little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in they dark streets shineth
The everlasting light . . .

Mary, did you know?


Is your Christmas set in the stillness of simplicity, or are you trying to make it fit for a king?








Part 2: I Don’t Know How To Tell You This, But I’m Pregnant

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.”
Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV)

Our story continues with Mary and Joseph going on with their lives, preparing a home for the child. Sometimes, Mary rests from her work, places both hands on her belly, takes pleasure in feeling the baby move and kick inside of her. Her pregnancy has been routine, uneventful. But now, in the eighth or ninth month, God reveals another piece of His Christmas puzzle. Without warning, the Romans call a census of all Jews. Mary and Joseph, members of the tribe of Judah, must travel to Bethlehem to be counted. They must go immediately. There is no waiting, no reprieve. The Bible doesn’t tell us much about what happens next, but let’s imagine.


“We should leave early tomorrow morning,” Joseph tells his very pregnant wife.

“But it is too near the time for the child to be born,” Mary answers.

Neither of them says it, but they know. It will be next to impossible for Mary to complete the journey without giving birth along the way. Surely they are worried. Do they hide this from one another, hoping to give each other strength? They trust the Lord, but they are human. And humans worry.

Joseph has to make a tough choice—which route to travel. The easiest, through the plains, is also the longest. Certainly, Mary will give birth along the way. Joseph wonders, is this what God wants? An old trading route provides the shortest way. But it winds for 70 miles through the rocky highlands. Mary will have to travel on uneven ground, up and down hills. Impossible, Joseph says to himself. But nothing is impossible with God. His still, small voice echoes in Joseph’s heart. “Take the highlands. Walk where you most fear to tread.” With some reservation, Joseph chooses to follow God instead of his own human judgment. If God wants them to take the roughest route, then that is what they must do. Again, Joseph trusts in the words of Jeremiah 29:11. He believes that God has a plan to prosper and not harm them.

How does Mary react to Joseph’s decision? Do the words of the scriptures enter her mind?

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will find joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19


We can only imagine what happens next, but we do know this: Mary and Joseph made it to Bethlehem. They made it in God’s time and in accordance to His will.

In life, God sometimes leads us to take the roughest route, one rife with rocky hills and deep valleys. We might ask why. Why not the easiest way? But we remember that it was in the rocky hills that God gave Moses His Ten Commandments. It was in the hills that Abraham offered sacrifices to God, and Jacob dreamed of angels climbing a ladder to Heaven. In the hills we find God, like a Good Shepherd, leading our way. In the hills, we grow stronger in our will to make the journey as we learn to put our faith and trust in Him.

When Mary and Joseph left the next morning, they might have offered this prayer, these words from Psalm 121:

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.


Amen.








Part 1: I Don’t Know How To Tell You This, But I’m Pregnant

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:18 (NASB)


Can you imagine Joseph’s reaction when Mary told him that she was pregnant? He knew that the baby wasn’t his, and her explanation seemed unbelievable. What? She had become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and would give birth to the Son of God? And an angel told her this? The Bible suggests in Matthew 1:18-19 that Joseph didn’t believe any of it. “And Joseph . . . being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.” (NASB) Joseph had other options. He could lie and say that he was the father, but this would humiliate them both and break God’s ninth commandment: you shall not bear false witness. He could accuse Mary of unfaithfulness and embarrass her. According to Jewish law, he could even have her stoned for being unfaithful. But the Bible tells us that Joseph was a righteous man. And he was a caring man, too. He didn’t want his fiancĂ© embarrassed by her unexpected pregnancy, and also he didn’t want to accuse her of unfaithfulness and begin a flood of gossip. After all, the Old Testament taught, “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.” (Proverbs 11:13 NASB) Joseph was a righteous and God-fearing man. He decided to suffer silently, believing that Mary had betrayed him. He planned to quietly send her away.

Meanwhile, God was putting together the pieces of the Christmas puzzle, and the next piece was to confirm to Joseph that Mary had been truthful. Matthew 1:20-21 (NASB) tells us, “But when [Joseph] had considered [sending Mary away] an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

So, Joseph scrapped his plan, obeyed God, and did as the angel had told him. He took Mary as his wife, and he kept her a virgin until she gave birth to Jesus. (Matthew 1:24-25) What did people say when they found out that Mary was several months pregnant? Did they gossip and humiliate her? The Bible doesn’t tell us. What we do know is that Joseph stuck by her and supported her pregnancy because not only did he trust her, but he trusted God.

When you think about it, the beginning of the Christmas story is all about trust. Without hesitation, Mary trusted that the angel Gabriel had told her the truth. Joseph didn’t believe her, which must have hurt, but she continued to trust that God was working out His plan through her. After God's angel spoke to Joseph, he stopped struggling with his decision and immediately put his trust in God and also in Mary’s truthfulness.

As this month of Christmas begins, how well do you trust God? Do you believe, as Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, that He has a plan to prosper you and not to harm you, a plan to give you hope and a future?









NEW FROM THOMAS NELSON

CLICK ON THE BOOK TO PREVIEW. VIEW THE BOOK TRAILER BELOW.
FROM BARBOUR BOOKS
I'm proud to be a contributing author to the following series of humorous devotionals.
And check out my "Kid's Bible Dictionary" and pre-teen mysteries, also from Barbour.

See all the books in the Camp Club Girls series.

See all the books in the Camp Club Girls series.
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I am the author of these books, but I have not been compensated for mentioning them on this blog or linking them to the seller's website. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

By Max Lucado, Published by Thomas Nelson
Max Lucado has a unique way with words, and his children's book Hermie A Common Caterpillar is no exception. With simple text and bright, watercolor illustrations, the story of Hermie unfolds.

Hermie wonders why he looks and feels so common. Whenever he asks God why, God simply answers, "I'm not finished with you yet." Then, one day, Hermie feels very tired. He gets into his cozy, leafy bed, and he sleeps. And while Hermie sleeps a transformation takes place. When he wakes up, Hermie discovers that God has done something grand. You can guess what it is. Every caterpillar that lives to adulthood knows the end of the story.

Parents, please share this book and its powerful message with your children. We are all special because God loves us, and He has a unique purpose for our lives. Whenever we slump into feeling ordinary, we know that we have hope because . . .God isn't finished with us yet!


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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