Memorial Day weekend, 2011, is a weekend that many will remember, especially in Pine Creek Valley, Pennsylvania! Heavy winds gusted through the little valley, leaving the forested woodlands in a state of littered devastation. Branches tore off trees, flying in every possible direction, while entire trunks came crashing down, often uprooting huge, old trees completely. It was real chaos!
Not everyone was upset by this turn of events, however. In fact, there was one group of people who were actually excited by the mess!
Who would get excited about a bunch of downed trees?
And this group of enthusiasts immediately set to work with their chainsaws, transforming these downed tree trunks into real pieces of art that brought beauty once again to the mess!
When they received the orders to go to Bethlehem in Judea to register, Mary and Joseph weren’t faring much better than the residents of Pine Creek Valley! Traveling that distance over perilous, uneven roads would have been a challenge for anyone, but to complicate things further, Mary was in the last weeks of her pregnancy!
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.” (Luke 2:1-5)
But the bad news didn’t stop there. When they finally arrived in Bethlehem, there was “no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)
What could Joseph do, especially since Mary was now going into labour! The baby was on His way and there was no place for her delivery!
Even amidst despair, God comes through. Just like those chainsaw artists turned something negative into something beautiful, God provided a manger. Perhaps, by our standards, it wasn’t the most hygienic place to give birth, but it didn’t matter because God was there! They had nothing to be afraid of! God would take care of their needs!
And so it was that amidst cows, sheep and donkeys, Jesus was born. In the middle of all the chaos and adversity of this world, our Saviour was delivered.
“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger…” (Luke 2:6-7 NIV)
Suddenly, all of the dire circumstances the couple had faced were forgotten. Their focus shifted to the child, and peace and joy prevailed. God truly was in their midst! “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”-which means, “God with us.” (Matt 1:23 NIV)
May we remember this Christmas that even amidst chaos, God is with us. He will lead us to safety. He did it for Mary and Joseph, and He’ll do it for us as well! Aren’t we, after all, His children? We truly have nothing to fear!
“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Ps 118:6 NIV)
Our God specializes in turning adversities into opportunities. He creates beauty even among our worst moments.
“Oh no! My roof just flew away!”
How will you react next time adversity comes knocking at your door?
(To access the entire “Christmas Under Fire” devotional series, please click here.)