Happy Thursday! I am blessed to be a part of a group of bloggers who feel led to share a bit of encouragement each week from the Bible. We recognize our daily need for Christ and we aim to share that with our readers. Plus, when Thursday comes around, we can all use a little encouragement right? I hope that this post blesses you and that you find comfort, strength, and peace in the Lord today ❤
This week happens to be the last His Encouragement Thursday post before Christmas. This means I feel strongly led to share all of Luke 2:
Luke 2 (ESV)
The Birth of Jesus Christ
2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when[a]Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,[b] who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.[c]
The Shepherds and the Angels
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[d]
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Jesus Presented at the Temple
22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant[e] depart in peace,
according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.[f] She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
The Return to Nazareth
39 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.
The Boy Jesus in the Temple
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances,45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.48 And when his parents[g] saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”[h] 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature[i] and in favor with God and man.
*Today’s thoughts are going to tie in with the song I share at the end, so if you haven’t listened to it before, I might recommend giving it a listen first so you can know more of what I’m talking about.
One song that I simply can’t sing without thinking deeply about, is the song “Mary, Did You Know?” I don’t remember where I was or even how long ago, but I remember a discussion in reference to the song about God revealing His will to us in bits and pieces as we can handle them (still with His help of course).
Imagine being visited by an angel. That’s a big enough shock in itself! But now imagine that angel telling you that you will give birth to a baby without the help of a man. Oh, and you’re a virgin too. Would that seem like a bit of a shock to you? Now fast forward, and that baby is a grown man. You’ve raised him as your loving son, and all of the protective “momness” that comes with it. You want to protect him from all of the threats of violence that surround him but instead you hear him say the words “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?…Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Taken from Matt 12:48-50). What?? After all of those years as his mama he’s going to say that?? Now fast-forward a bit more and have to stand by while he is beaten beyond recognition and hung on a cross to die. I don’t even have any kids of my own yet, and the mere thought of that is incomprehensible.
While I think learning in bits and pieces can be an emotional ride for sure, I think knowing it all from the beginning would alter the journey itself. Think about it: if you had a child that you knew would be brutally murdered… how would that change the time you know you have with him/her? Personally, I think I’d smother them by holding them too tightly and hoping I could somehow avoid the inevitable. While life can be certainly painful, I believe God doesn’t reveal it all at once so that we will still live our lives and and not focus so much on the end… well you know what I mean…. because you see Jesus never stayed in that tomb… he rose again! And greater still, he’s coming back! So the “end” we should be looking to, is the one in eternity with God through Jesus! <3
Mary is not a co-redeemer. She is not above or even equal to Jesus. She was just another everyday human being like you and me. That doesn’t mean that she wasn’t used in a mighty and powerful way by God, and given the most important and honored responsibility of raising Jesus, our Savior. If you sit back and think just how much this affected her life–I’m sure it cause you to see her in a whole new light.
I know I talked a lot about Mary here, but it’s still all about Jesus. He was 100% man, and 100% God. It’s a mind-boggling concept. Let’s think about a baby for a moment: Babies are Physically incapable of surviving on their own. They need the help of others to feed them, clothe them, keep them clean, and so much more. They are fully dependent on their caregivers. Now think of God, the Creator of the universe, being born as a tiny helpless baby…
I hope that you take a few moments today to meditate on these thoughts today. As mentioned above, I’ll be ending with the song “Mary, Did You Know.” I sincerely hope you will take a moment to listen. (Full warning you may want a tissue nearby). Try putting yourself in Mary’s shoes for a moment. She had a great responsibility but also a great blessing.
I hope you have a blessed Christmas and pray you are able to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus–the real reason we celebrate. <3
Now, it’s your turn!
What Biblical verse is encouraging you today?
And, check out more Thursday Encouragement from my fellow blogger friends:
Nicole @ Christian Fiction Girl
Trisha @ Joy of Reading
Jacquelyn @ A Heavenly Home
Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective
Jenny @ Author Jenny Lynn
Gina @ Stories By Gina
Rebecca @Rev. Rebecca Writes