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Hope in the Heartland

The baby King

(Editor’s note: These are the second and third parts of a four-part series, leading to Christmas.)

Pastor, Gracepoint church

Later, Joseph awoke, his heart pounding. Jumping to his feet, his mind replayed the angel’s message as he charged out the door. Tears ran down his cheeks as he approached the home of Mary’s parents, calling his loved one’s name louder with each step, “Mary! Mary!”

He stopped in the courtyard, trying to catch his breath, but the sight of Mary standing in the doorway stole it away again. Their eyes met, then they ran into each other’s embrace.

“Mary, an angel came to me in a dream,” Joseph said.

“God sent his messenger to me also. Gabriel told me that I would have a …” Mary said.

“… a son,” Joseph said, finishing Mary’s sentence.

They laughed and pushed tears from each other’s cheeks.

“Yes, Joseph, a son. And we are to name Him …” Mary said.

“Jesus,” Joseph and Mary said together.

Their eyes widened with excitement and they repeated the name over and over.

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

With hope reborn, Mary and Joseph walked and talked together for hours. God was fulfilling His promise to Israel.

The Messiah, placed in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit, would soon be born. They would see him. They would know him. They would raise him.

Time raced by and they soon married. As the time to give birth quickly approached, news of Caesar’s decree swept through the village. Joseph knew he must go to Bethlehem to register and his nine-months pregnant bride was determined to go with him.

Three days later, as dusk signaled the end of another day of travel, Joseph turned and looked again at his wife. The donkey on which Mary sat plodded along, swaying her back and forth. Mary smiled at Joseph, her hand gently rubbing her large belly. Joseph knew that she was exhausted and uncomfortable. Yet there was a glow on her face, as though her soul was ablaze with the glory of the Messiah that lay in the sanctuary of her womb.

“We’re almost there. We’ll find a place for you to sleep soon,” he said.

He was amazed at how strong and joyful Mary had been on their long, three-day journey from Nazareth to the city of his ancestors, Bethlehem.

Joseph was sure that he had heard the sweet voice of his beloved quoting the words from the prophet Micah. Even now, as his tired feet stepped closer toward the city of his forefather, David, Joseph whispered the incredible prophecy to himself:

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.”

Soon the weary newlyweds entered the city and Joseph’s heart sank. The streets teemed with pilgrims, the city bloated beyond anything Joseph had imagined.

“Where will we stay, Joseph?”

Without taking his eyes off the sea of humanity flooding Bethlehem, Joseph replied, “I will find a place. I promise.”

“I hope so. I think the baby is coming soon.”

Last modified Dec. 15, 2010

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