We’ve made it to the manger. What a spectacular way God brought all of His clues to take place. Nothing was by chance. We can know today that our lives are not random, but rather God has an amazing plan for each of us.
“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. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first-born, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:1-7)
We have made it to the manger! What an amazing journey we’ve traveled with clues leading us right to Jesus. Do you remember all of the clues? God pointed the way to His Son so everyone would not miss the Messiah, the One who would save them from their sins.
Clue 1: God told the prophet Isaiah 742 BC an unmarried woman would become pregnant with the Savior
Clue 2: God told the prophet Micah 742 BC the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem
Clue 3: God told the prophet Jeremiah 628 BC the Savior would come from King David’s family
Clue 4: God told Daniel about 550 BC after a ruler decided to rebuild Jerusalem the Anointed One would come in 483 years
Clue 5: God said about 1,400 before Jesus was born that he would come from the line of Judah
Clue 6: The Israelites killed the Passover Lamb and painted their blood in the shape of a cross on their door frames. This protected them from having their first-born son killed in Egypt.
Clue 7: In the book of Psalms God said that the Messiah would be His Son
Clue 8: God told the prophet Isaiah the Messiah would be a King
Clue 9: The Messiah would be a light in the darkness to the people.
Clue 10: God told Mary and Joseph they would have the Son of God and they would call Him Jesus because He would save people from their sins
We know nothing is too difficult for God. We see this in our own lives, and all throughout the Bible. God is able to accomplish what He desires. 742 years before Jesus was born God said His Son would be born in Bethlehem. It may seem impossible at just the time Mary was to deliver Jesus Joseph and Mary had to take a long trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem. They would never take a trip unless they absolutely had to. God determined 3 major aspects of Jesus’ birth: 1) the city 2) the timing 3) the place. How did God do it?
God used the Emperor of the Roman Empire to get Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. Caesar Augustus said everyone in his entire empire must go to the city where they could trace their genealogy. He wanted to record every person living in the empire, perhaps to develop a more reliable tax system. Can you imagine how many thousands of people were impacted because God wanted Joseph and Mary to be in Bethlehem?
The census took place exactly when Mary was going to deliver Jesus. Surely Mary would have loved to stay in the comforts of her home. Although it is about 90 miles directly from Nazareth to Bethlehem, they could never have traveled that way because it would take them through Samaria. There was great conflict between the Israelites and Samaritans. The only option was to go around Samaria which would have taken about a week. God’s timing is always perfect.
Joseph and Mary finally made it to Bethlehem. They were probably later than most of the other travelers because they were slower and took more rest stops. When they arrived in Bethlehem, there was no place for them to stay. Do you think this was an accident? God could allow His Son to be born anywhere He chose, and yet he chose to make every room occupied. Only a stable was available. God’s Passover Lamb would be born in a stable and laid in manger.
Only an Almighty God could have planned such a story and given clues throughout history. Only God could plan the story of your life so you would meet His Son as your Savior.
What are significant events in your life where you have seen God show you Jesus?
Making a Treat with an Object Lesson
Black Bean and Corn Salsa
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen white kernel corn
1 red pepper, chopped
½ red onion, chopped
1 firm tomato, chopped
Fresh cilantro, to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
Salt, to taste
1. Place black beans, corn, red pepper, onion, tomato and cilantro in bowl.
2. Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lime juice and salt.
3. Pour dressing over black bean mixture. Stir until completely combined.
4. Marinate 30 minutes or longer. There is no need to refrigerate since the corn keeps the salsa cool.
5. Serve with tortilla chips or as a side salad.
Do you know why God made beans? In places in the world where meat is very difficult to buy, beans provide a great source of protein. Beans make us strong and healthy, and they can grow in many different environments.
Everything God made has a purpose. God had a reason for making you exactly like He wanted. You have a wonderful purpose in your life.
This is a great gift from a mom to children who are going to college, moving to start first job or getting married. A grandmother can give this to grandchildren. Older children can even create this for their mom to show her their favorite recipes she cooks.
1. Choose format for recipe book on computer.
2. Input recipes into computer and save. This can be as few or many as you want. There can be different sections or just put all the recipes together. Make a cover page with graphics, name of author and year.
3. Print out recipes on card stock. Bind the pages together with staples, ribbon or at a copy store.
Copyright © words and photographs by Jane Carole Stein