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1. The Visit

Mary was busy cleaning the house when suddenly the room was filled with light. Mary stood there, frozen, with the broom in her hand mid-sweep. What on earth was happening? Then a voice! She dropped the broom in fright.

‘Don’t be afraid’.

That’s easy for you to say, thought Mary.

‘God has chosen you to bear his child.’

‘I think I need to sit down,’ said Mary.

‘God has chosen you Mary to give birth to his son and you will call him - Jesus.’ said the Angel.

‘But...’ stuttered Mary.

‘No buts. Now go and tell Joseph the fantastic news.’

So Mary went to find Joseph and shared with him all that had happened and they were filled with joy and excitement.

 

2. The Stable

Just before Mary was to give birth, the Romans insisted that everyone had to go back to their ancestral home to be counted. Joseph was part of the house of David and so he had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem with Mary.

It was a long slow journey, and sometimes Mary walked and other times she rode a donkey. Eventually they arrived in Bethlehem, only to find the place heaving with people. They set about desperately trying to find somewhere to stay but everywhere was full.

Tired and exhausted they tried one last inn. The innkeeper said, ‘I’m sorry we have no room.’ But seeing the disappointment and desperation on Mary and Joseph’s faces he offered them his stable. There was some straw for a
comfy bed and it was warm and dry with the animals, although it was also a bit smelly.

That night Mary gave birth to Jesus, and she laid him in the manger.

3. The Fields

That night, high on the hills outside Bethlehem, the shepherds were looking after their sheep. Gathered around their camp fire, they were chatting and joking with each other. Suddenly, there was a brilliant light and the air was filled with singing.

The shepherds were frightened and fell to the floor. Then they began to hear what was being said. ‘Run! Hurry! Go to Bethlehem for tonight has been born a child who will bring great joy to all people.’

The air was filled once again with the most beautiful singing from the heavenly host. The shepherds realised something special had happened, so they left their sheep and ran to Bethlehem. There in the stable they found Mary and Joseph, with the baby lying in the manger and the animals all looking on.

4. The Gifts

Far in the East were some wise men. They were so wise that people thought they were magic. They could read the stars, and that night they saw a new star appear in the sky. It wasn’t just any star. This star was special - it moved, and so they decided to pack up their camels and follow the star to see where it led them. They knew that it would lead them to a king but where was he?

They travelled many miles and eventually they came to Bethlehem where the star stopped. It wasn’t over a beautiful castle but instead it had stopped over a dirty old stable. The wise men looked inside and were surprised to find Jesus there. As soon as they saw him they knew he was a special king. They brought with them gifts fit for a king - gold, frankincense and myrrh.

5. God's Gift

Christmas is all about God’s gift to humanity. The gift of a child born in a stable bringing love, joy and peace to all people. This Christmas, in amongst the paper and the presents, the turkey and the tinsel, may you remember the true meaning of Christmas. May you know God’s love, joy and peace afresh, now and throughout the coming year.