by Pastor Tim White
The picture of the rugged carpenter leading his nine-month pregnant wife, Mary, on a burro 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem is a picture that the greatest romantics have never been able to fully capture in all their paintings, songs, and poetry. There must have been a mass traffic jam since Caesar had ordered a census of the entire Roman world forcing people to return to their hometowns to be counted. The frantic nature and events of traffic jams are something we can all relate to today. And I am sure that the thieves were out in mass and as thick as thieves.
Can I use that metaphor of thieves? Just like today, the scammers come out of the woodwork at Christmas. I was thinking of getting a voicemail installed that says – “If you are a deposed president of a small country and you need to give me $20 million - press one; if you are the IRS and you need a check mailed to you - please press two; if you are stranded in a city and need me to send you $2,000 - press three, if you are informing me I have won a free vacation - please press four.” And then after they press their number give a similar list with different numbers. And after all that a message mail that says, “I totally believe you so if you will leave your home phone number, and your social security card number I will get right back to you.”
I can imagine Joseph avoiding people, muggers and thieves while also steering clear of detachments of Roman soldiers. I suspect they probably met a lot of good people in the land of Israel, just as you would today. People who would befriend them as they too made their own perilous journey. Maybe a little drummer boy or two – encounters and stories that no one will ever hear until we get to heaven?
The Christmas story is the story of a family. Fragile, like many families today, escaping rumors from Nazareth, and at the mercy of a merciless King Herod. So many miracles as this holy family is protected, directed, and selected to experience miracle after miracle. As your pastor I pray that you will experience the miracle of a precious family this Christmas.
There was a gentleman who had more than his share of questions about faith in Jesus Christ. He had an amazing story and spoke with a proper British accent. I would spend hours talking to him. He would always show up at holiday time because he was so lonely for a precious family. One day I was playing golf with a member of our church who was a high-level executive from AT&T. This guy is one of the nicest guys you would every meet. (I meet a lot of nice people.) He was mentioning to me that every Christmas that he and his beautiful family have this gentleman over for Christmas. Wow, I thought this is an answer to so many prayers. Then later I was talking to his friend who was a Vice President for AT&T. I had asked him to help me understand my phone and he was laughing saying “that he did not do that during golf games or any other time.” He mentioned that he knew my British friend also. I said, “This is amazing! How do you know him?” And he went on to tell me “that he was always the guest of our friend at their company Christmas parties.” God does amazing things to put people in precious families. I pray that after this week’s sermon your family will miraculously become even more precious to you as a light of Christmas.
This weekend you will learn Biblical principles to: (1) Give you a higher perspective on family challenges. (2) Practical ideas to bringing peace where once there was tension. (3) Strategies to move tangibly closer to your loved ones.
Don’t miss it - because you will be blessed.
Your friend for the rest of my life,
Pastor Tim White