The Beautiful, Rejected, Baby Messiah
We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, checking off our Santa lists, holiday parties and mistletoe cheer that we often fail to realize that the birth of Christ wasn't anything close to our Christmas festivities.
I can only imagine the initial excitement Mary must have felt when the angel of the Lord came to her and told her that she had been chosen to be the mother of the Messiah.
The mother of the Messiah? I will give birth to the Savior of the world!
She must have felt so special and chosen. But she would soon realize that chosen often means a long, difficult and lonely road ahead. There's a saying that people want the glory, but they don't want to have to live the story. We see people's successes in life and envy their title or platform, however, many fail to realize the price that was paid to get there.
It's like the singers that people call "overnight success stories", but nobody saw the 10 years they spent sleeping in their car, playing in tiny venues that paid just enough for their gas money to get to their next gig.
The beginning of a dream or calling is always preset with excitement and passion. It's kind of like a marathon. At the starting line people are jumping around, yelling, smiling and taking pictures, but at mile 20 the smiles are gone, runners are dropping off and the remainder are grinding it out through grit and pain.
To be told you have been chosen to be the Messiah's mother must have been an indescribable feeling. This was the starting line, but then she had to tell Joseph, her fiancé, that she was pregnant....by none other than God.
Uhhhh…..yeah right, Mary. It's bad enough that you have embarrassed me by betraying and cheating on me, but now you insult my intelligence by telling me you are pregnant by God?
So after sharing with Joseph this amazing, life-changing encounter with God, the man that Mary is deeply in love with and ready to marry, tells her he is leaving her. Oftentimes, it's those closest to you that will not believe in you.
But God always has a way of showing those who don't believe in you that He has chosen you and He is for you. "But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.' " (Matthew 1:20-21)
And then they lived happily after....well, not exactly.
If I were giving birth to the Savior of the world I would expect that the red carpet would be laid out for me. I would be expecting extravagant gifts, parties, celebrations and favor galore. Where is my royal robe and birthing suite in the king's castle?
But instead of invitations to parties and royal robes, Joseph and Mary found themselves away from home, with no family or friends, walking alone from one inn to the next looking for a place to give birth to the Messiah; only to have one door after another shut in their face.
"Sorry, no room at the inn." Not a single one.
So in a cold and dirty place, Mary gave birth to the Messiah amongst, not kings and queens, but amongst sheep and cattle and laid baby Jesus in a manger, a trough for animals to eat from.
And instead of holiday parties with gifts and Christmas carols to celebrate the Savior's birth, Joseph and Mary were now on the run, fleeing for their child's life. Weeping and wailing filled the homes of mother's and father's and the streets ran with the blood of children, as King Herod sought to kill the Messiah.
Mother of the Messiah? Chosen one? Highly favored? Lord, this doesn't feel like favor.
From the outside looking in most of us wouldn't call this favor, however, this is exactly what the angel of the Lord called Mary. I can't help but wonder if Mary didn't have the same thoughts.
How could I be chosen and highly favored, yet going through all this turmoil?
If you follow almost any highly successful person's story you will often find that most all of them experienced massive failure, closed doors and rejection when they started, but something deep inside of them propelled them to keep moving forward to fulfill their purpose.
Just because you are following your calling, it doesn't mean the road will be easy. So don't be surprised when those closest to you don't believe in you, when doors shut in your face and "Herods" come to kill your "baby". It doesn't mean you're not chosen, highly favored or an indication that you won't make it.
For if the beautiful and majestic Messiah's entrance into the world was marred by rejection and opposition, what makes us think our journey won't have trials as well? So in this Christmas season, if you find yourself feeling alone or down because of tight finances or trials, just know that you are in good company with the Savior of the world.
Merry Christmas chosen ones!