Is the Christian life one of convenience or comfort? Just remember IMMANUEL!

Imagine with me for a moment. There’s a fire roaring in the fireplace. The Christmas tree lights are twinkling in the amber-glowing room. A cup of hot tea touches your lips and the heated beverage warms you up inside. As you’re nested in a comfy chair with a soft blanket draped over you, you find yourself staring at the nativity scene, imagining that first Christmas morning.
Can you even imagine that day?
I wonder how Mary must have felt?

Did God grace her with no labor pains? 

Did Jesus pop out, have a grin on His face, and smile at his momma as if to say, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”?

You may think that Mary had a pleasant pregnancy, easy labor, no stretch marks,  could eat anything, needed no lactation specialist, etc., but…let’s be real…When we do God’s will, we are not guaranteed comfort or convenience.

Here are six examples:

  • First of all, does this sound convenient? Here you have a young, poor, teenage girl, who has never had intimacy with a man…PREGNANT…, carrying baby Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords. In Luke 1:28, “Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Mary must have been thinking, “Who me? I am poor and young. How can you choose me and call me favored?” In her day, these characteristics would make her unusable by God for a major task. This is a great example of how we are NOT to limit God. He can use anyone, anywhere, and at any time.  When this all first happened to her, she was confused and asked how this could happen. Yet, she accepted the invitation without hesitation. She believed the Lord would do what He said He would do. Mary was willing to serve.
  • Joseph and Mary were engaged, and she became pregnant  BEFORE they were married. In Matthew 1:19 “Mary’s husband, Joseph, was a good man. He did not want to cause her public disgrace, so he planned to divorce her secretly.”  This was a tough road. Young, unwed, pregnant, and already planning a divorce. Was this convenient? Oh! I can imagine it was extremely complicated and confusing.
  • Notice, in the following verses there is a lesson we can all learn from Joseph.  But after Joseph thought about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to accept Mary to be your wife. The baby inside her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son. You will name him Jesus. Give him that name because he will save his people from their sins. All this happened to make clear the full meaning of what the Lord said through the prophet: “The virgin will be pregnant and will give birth to a son. They will name him Immanuel.” (Immanuel means “God with us.”) When Joseph woke up, he did what the Lord’s angel told him to do. He married Mary. Matthew 1:20-24 Joseph had gone to sleep, probably tossing and turning. And after what probably seemed like hours, his eyes finally became heavy enough so that he was in a deep sleep. He slept on it. He didn’t act out on impulse. He got clarification and confirmation. Was what Joe went through comforting? Not when he went to sleep. He was in a complete quandary.
  • A census needed to be taken and Mary and Joseph had to travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea. That is about 80 miles of traveling over treacherous terrain. This could have taken anywhere from three to ten days. And…remember…Mary was full term…swollen feet, aching back, sleepy, etc.. We often see Mary depicted on a donkey. The bible does not mention how Mary arrived in Bethlehem. It is believed that it wasn’t a camel because Joseph wasn’t a rich man. Someone could have given them a donkey to borrow. Or Mary could have made the trek on foot. Convenient OR comforting? Neither mode of transportation sounds delightful while hours away from delivering a baby.
  • Once they reached their destination, there was no room for them to stay anywhere! They had to sleep with the animals. Various commentaries say this could have been a stable that is beside or below the home, or Mary and Joseph could have stayed in a cave nearby. Hmmm…Mary did not have the comfort of a sleep number bed or MyPillow mattress topper. This setting was the opposite of comfort.
  • Jesus was born. No details from Dr. Luke as to Mary’s condition. No midwife or doc to instruct or comfort this barely teenage girl. No pool or tub to have a water birth. BUT, knowing how God operates, we can gather that through all these trials so far…God was with them. Immanuel! 

God was building character in them. God was keeping them humble, strong, giving them perseverance, and providing for their every need.

The Christian life isn’t easy.  Yet, if you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you have the Deliverer. 

In Psalm 34:19 we are told, The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;

I like how the Message translations puts it, Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.

May I remind you what the angel told Joseph in Matthew 1:23, Immanuel means “God is with us.” 

So, be assured that, if you are a believer, no matter what struggle. Difficulty, inconvenient or discomforting thing you are going through, GOD IS WITH YOU.

Blessings to you and yours,