Sometimes, we make plans to do certain things, and then later, we change our minds. Sometimes, plans are made for us. For instance, this past autumn, I had problems with my left eye, which resulted in an operation on October 23rd. After the operation, I was given six weekly appointments for checkups. Some were on Wednesdays, and a couple were on Thursdays. I was not able to drive long distances, and as the hospital is some 220 kilometres away, various family members agreed to drive me. Our daughter offered to take me, but as Wednesday is her day off, a Thursday appointment was not convenient. So, for her to be able to take me, I asked to change the appointment from Thursday to Wednesday, which was done. The only reason for changing it at the time was to accommodate the drive down with our daughter.
Shortly thereafter, I received a call from the Meaford Long Term Care Centre to see if I could possibly lead a memorial service for those who had passed away during the previous months. The date was Thursday, the 8th of November, the day when I had been scheduled to go to the hospital. Afterwards, I realized that, unbeknownst to me, the date had been changed, not for us, as was my intention, but for the comfort of those whose family members or friends had passed away.
Quite often, we realize after a certain event that it was all God's plan.
Joseph and Mary could not possibly have had plans to go on a long journey when Mary was about to give birth to her first child. It was best to stay home where they were comfortable and where help was available. Then, they received the order to go to Bethlehem, their ancestral birthplace, for the census.
Luke 2:1 – In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (NIV)
Unbeknownst to Caesar and to Joseph and Mary, it was all in God's plan that they should be in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. There was a prophecy about to be fulfilled:
Micah 5:2 – But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. (NIV)
Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem — it was a decree which could not be ignored. God's promise was fulfilled indeed!
Luke 2:6-7 – While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (NIV)
Like Joseph and Mary, let us be open to the wonderful plans that God has for our lives! Joy to the world! The Lord is come: let earth receive her King!
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, as we celebrate the birth of Your Son Jesus, we thank You for the lessons that He taught, the people that He comforts, and the place that He has prepared for all of us who believe in Him as Saviour and Lord. We offer this prayer in His name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Silent Night Holy Night" (Lyrics)