I would go back to the first Christmas and take a picture of the wise men arriving in Bethlehem to see Jesus.
Have you ever wondered how God makes His promises happen? I used to imagine God doing something kind of mysterious that made everything go the way He wanted it to. But as I grew up, I found that the way God usually makes His promises happen is through great planning! Mary and Joseph are a good example of how that happens.
God had promised Mary that her child was to be the Messiah. Mary would have known enough of the promises about Messiah’s coming to know that He was supposed to be born in Bethlehem. That wasn’t where Mary lived, and she could have spent all of her time worrying about how she could work it so that her baby could be born there. But she couldn’t have made it happen on her own.
Instead, Caesar Augustus, the ruler of the Roman Empire, gave the reason for going there. God worked everything in such a way that Caesar suddenly decided that everyone should be taxed. In order to do that, they would have to go to the town of their birth. Joseph was born in Bethlehem, so to Bethlehem they went!
God planned the whole thing!
How to get to Bethlehem was Mary and Joseph’s problem. But God used the things that were happening around them to get them where He wanted them to be when He wanted them to be there! And He did it so that He could cause a miracle to happen that would bring blessing to the whole world.
God wants to do the same kind of thing in each of our lives…. Sometimes when God gives people promises, they want to make the promise come true without His help. That never works. Whatever He promises, you will need His help for it to take place. You can’t make it happen on your own.
That is what Bethlehem is a picture of: God bringing you to the place that He wants you to be so that He can do something great through you. God has different things for different people to do. And He tells people things at different times in their lives. No matter what God tells you or when He tells you, you can be sure that He will also bring about the perfect time for that to take place.
When God gives you promises, don’t spend your time worrying about how they will happen. Listen to the Lord as He works in circumstances and talks to you through His Word. If you really want to do His will, He won’t let you make a mistake. God will get you where you need to be when you need to be there so that he can work His great purpose in you.
-The 25 Days of Christmas by Rebecca Hayford Bauer
My mom found this nativity in Kenya – it’s made from banana leaves!