In the United States, Christmas involves lots of money. During one recent Christmas, $22.7 billion was spent in retail department stores . . . in December alone! Nearly 50 million Christmas trees were sold, including 27.4 million real ones and 21.1 million fake ones. And, last year, the average American family planned to spend $794 on gifts during Christmas.
It is clear that we can easily forget the true reason for the season! Christmas is first and foremost about Jesus. He came, not to usher in a heartwarming holiday, but to save us from our sins (v. 21). In the words of Paul: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
After Gabriel’s announcement to Mary, an angel told Joseph the news in a dream. Joseph was Mary’s fiancé, and her story of a “virgin birth” didn’t sound very believable. Still, Joseph was a good man and didn’t want to embarrass Mary publicly, so he’d decided to divorce her quietly (engagement was a more binding relationship in that culture than in ours).
When the angel confirmed the truth of Mary’s news (v. 20), as did Scripture (vv. 22–23), Joseph had an important choice to make. It wasn’t automatic. He chose to trust his fiancée, trust God, believe in a humanly impossible conception, and prepare for gossip and ridicule from the world.
From this perspective, Joseph’s obedience seems extraordinary (vv. 24–25). He acted as soon as he awoke, without delay. He took a big risk in both his relationship with Mary and his walk with the Lord. By faith, he accepted the impossible as true. He even held off on consummating the marriage so there would be no questions later about the virgin birth of Christ. Last but not least, he obediently named the baby “Jesus.”
This Christmas Eve, as we begin our Christmas celebration with family and friends, may the Lord give us peace and quietness amid all the busyness, gift-giving, and travel. We pray that we’ll always keep our eyes on Jesus, our Savior from sin.