Christmas is today, and along with the birth of our Savior, we celebrate the wonderful faith and obedience of Mary and Joseph, who, with great peace and serenity, entered hardship and uncertainty as they traveled the one hundred or so miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem in obedience to foreign civil authority. Here was Mary in the last stages of pregnancy, and Joseph with the worry of taking her there safely, not even knowing how he would care for her when they arrived, and her baby when He came.
Nor was that the only set of “impossible” circumstances that he would be faced with. Innkeepers did not want the bother of a birth taking place along with all they had to do with this great influx of visitors. Finally, someone let them use a cave, of which there were many in the area for stabling domestic animals. They were low and deep and quiet. An ox and an ass provided body heat, and a manger (French for “to eat”) full of hay for the animals could be used for a crib.
Could it have dawned on the young couple that the little town’s name, Bethlehem, House of Bread, had a special significance for them? And for Him? It has also been suggested that the shepherds, some of them, might have been Levites from the Temple in Jerusalem caring for sheep destined for temple sacrifice. Lambs destined for sacrifice visiting the real Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
O Jesus, Lamb of God, may the prayers of Mary and Joseph help us to stay close to you all the days of our lives, growing ever deeper in our understanding and appreciation of what you have done and will continue to do for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. Anastasia (304), Martyr