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DAILY DEVOTIONS
 

  In more than three decades of my Christian life, I have been blest by 2 types of Daily devos' (matter not exceeding 500 words) in universal Christian literature. Not only those Devos' which have a different theme everyday but also the ones which revolve around a certain theme over a period of time, say a fortnight, have richly edified me. In fact, both styles have their own inherent advantages. If the former style caters to the varying spiritual needs of a christian from day-to-day, the latter aims 'to ground' a child of God in a certain subject in order he derives the full benefits of the deep insightful study of a certain topic, spread over a fixed span of time.

In my Daily devo page, I have consciously tried to go in for 'a blend of both the styles' whereby within a constant theme, I would be aiming to focus on different facets of it which admittedly is a closer imitation of the 'Constant theme' style than the 'Varying topics' one.

As the month of December coincides with the Christmas season, in this month I intend to dwell exclusively on all the topics revolving around Christmas using the visit of the Wise man described in Matthew 2 as the base.

Let me wish you a happy and an edifying read… oh yes-MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF US!

Suresh Manoharan




December 4th

Character assassination



And as a penalty he must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, his guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value - Leviticus 6:6

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly – Matt 1:18-19
 
  Yesterday, while unraveling a mystery of 2 Gospels’ being in apparent contradiction to one another on the events (the time of visit of Wise men to worship the Christ child) surrounding Jesus’ birth –refer Daily Devo dated 3-12-08-, I had promised to bring to the fore, ‘one missing link’, in the entire account. That is the reason behind the continual stay of Jesus’ parents at Bethlehem (refer Map I in the NT Maps section of this website) for 2 years, instead of returning to their native village of Nazareth in the northern region of Galilee, soon after completing the Census’ formalities, which brought them to Bethlehem in the first place (Luke 2:1-7).

Our search for the ‘missing link’, would lead us firstly to the reason behind the Virgin birth of the Saviour (from sins). The blemish less Lamb of God that had to die as an atonement for the sins of mankind, had to be absolutely pure from conception onwards. Hence behind Jesus’ birth, there was no human plan or passion involved, in order he be absolutely spotless and holy. Even under the Mosaic Law, the animals –a pointer towards the coming Christ- sacrificed as an atonement for sins, had to be spotless, as one of the above-captioned scripture portion (Levi 6:6), bears out.

His mode of birth, as a part of God’s redemption plan for mankind was announced to his would-be- mother Virgin Mary (engaged to be married to David’s descendant Joseph), who after expressing genuine apprehensions willingly submitted to God’s will (Luke 1:26-38). The social fallout of a virgin becoming pregnant can well be imagined in a small village, ‘where everyone knew everyone else’s business’! Who would believe her story of the Angelic visit! Why even Joseph her trusted fiancée did not believer her story (Mary herself would have in full trust revealed the reason behind her pregnancy to him) and as such was on the verge of breaking their engagement, till yet another angelic intervention (Matt 1:18-25), changed the course of events for both him and his betrothed one.

Vices’ such as slander, character assassination, talking behind one’s back have a long history being as old as mankind itself! Imagine, how tongues would have wagged in that little village of Galilee on Mary’s pregnancy! Doubtless, both Mary and Joseph would have been at the receiving end of a ruthless public ridicule, for begetting a child during the period of their engagement itself. Would they have wanted their innocent son also, whilst growing-up to become a target of a cruel public ridicule, they had endured? No wonder, they continued to stay in Bethlehem without returning to Galilee after Jesus’ birth, with Joseph, the Carpenter finding a way to sustain his family, by plying his trade in a new setting. Hence, Jesus was staying in a house in Bethlehem when the Wise men, arrived 2 years after his birth.

Even, whilst returning from Egypt, the natural inclination of Joseph was to go back to Bethlehem, hence the spontaneous fear in his heart (Matt 2:21-22) on knowing that Herod’s son Archelaus was now ruling Judea (region in which Bethlehem lay) and since security for Christ-child was paramount, he was directed to go to Nazareth, where with the passage of time, situation would have surely improved. Really, a closer look at the Christmas story, bereft of all the fanciful strappings would reveal the many travails, the parents’ of Jesus endured, all for the purpose of bringing God’s redemption plan to fruition!

Prayer:

Father, in the midst of our tribulations, remind us of Jesus’ parents who willingly and submissively bore all the difficulties to be a part of Thy great redemption plan. Grant us too that same grace to patiently bear our problems, till you remove them in your own good time. Amen.
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