Which two candles are we lighting tonight and what do they symbolize? Yes, the Prophesy candle symbolizing the hope for Jesus that the prophesies brought and the Bethlehem candle symbolizing our humble obedience to God’s big plans
Do you remember the last three days’ stories? When Zechariah questions the angle, he became mute, but when he was obedient in naming his son, he was able to speak again. When Mary trusted God, God blessed her. There’s another important person who had to choose to be obedient: Joseph.
Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” … When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. Matt 1:18-21, 24
Soon afterwards, the ruler of the land, decided to count how many people were living in his land, so he made a law that everyone had to return to the town of their ancestors while they were counting. Since Joseph was a descendant of King David, he took Mary, who was pregnant, and obediently traveled to Bethlehem. (Luke 2:1-5) Let’s read what happened when they got there:
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. Luke 2:6-7
Joseph was humbly obedient to the instructions the angle gave him and as a result he got to be part of the birth of Jesus Christ! Joseph and Mary were both obedient to the new law of their country, even though it meant Mary had to give birth in a manger
What is a manger? It’s a feeding trough. The manger was Jesus’ bed and we assume it was inside a barn or stable. Does that sound like a comfortable bed? Where do you think Joseph and Mary were sleeping? (in the hay maybe?) Does that sound comfortable? Sometimes God asks us to do uncomfortable things. We may not really like it at the time, but later we’ll always be glad we did what God said.