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Devotionals

It's Christmas! How's Your Stress Level? - In His Grip - Week of December 11

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It's Christmas! How's Your Stress Level?
by Sharon W. Betters

Family problems? Join the Holy family.

Imagine - Your 15-year-old daughter (or daughter-in-law-to-be) stands at your bedroom door and stutters, "Mom, I have something tell you."  Your heart skips a beat and you hold your breath as she continues, "Now don't get upset, but I'm pregnant.  Before you say anything, I still have my purity ring on and no, Joseph didn't pressure me and I'm still a virgin and the baby's father is God." She senses your disbelief and adds, "An angel told me."

Remember Mary's response to the angel who "told her?" I have a feeling that your stress level just went through the roof and you're trying not to scream Mary's same words, “And, uh, how can these things be?”  We never hear about Mary's parents or her in-laws, but I get the sense that they might have felt some extreme stress over this turn of events!

Decisions, Decisions!
Overwhelmed with all the decisions you need to make?  Join Joseph’s party.  His fiance is pregnant and let's imagine his thoughts after the shock of getting this news and him thinking, "This is not my baby!"

 "Hmm..what are my options, let’s see,  stoning Mary,  but that's  a little extreme.  I think I'll just quietly divorce her because I still love her and I don't want to hurt her....."

Oh never fear, an angel steps in and encourages him to believe that Mary's child is the Son of God and to stay the course and marry Mary, but we still don’t know what happened with the in-laws.

Ah, wouldn’t you just love an angel to help out with all of your decisions?

Too Many Bills, Taxes and a Trip to Underwrite?
Joseph was a carpenter, and now he had a new wife and baby and increased taxes and he had to pay for the costs of travel to Bethlehem.  We think our taxes are bad, but they don’t have a whole lot on the taxes of that era.  So this new husband saddles up his very pregnant wife on a donkey and they make the trek to Bethlehem to register and pay their taxes.

If It Can Go Wrong, It Will! 
Mary was very, very pregnant (when I was nine months pregnant one Christmas my doctor wouldn't let me travel by car from Philadelphia to Delaware - I can imagine her face if I asked if I could go by donkey!).  They were exhausted and far from home.  In that middle eastern culture you would think the extended family in Joseph's hometown of Bethlehem would have opened their homes to this weary couple. But, talk about family conflict, no room for you, Joseph!  I imagine the candles going out and the curtains being drawn as Joseph and his "hussy wife" passed by.  Every motel had a No Vacancy sign.  As if things couldn’t get worse, Mary goes into labor. Yeah, that stress level must have been rising just a little bit!

Do you think Joseph was starting to wonder if he heard that angel right?  

For the rest of the story: http://www.treasuresofencouragement.org/

In His grip,

Sharon W. Betters
Executive Director
MARKINC Ministries

Special Offer: Subscribe to Sharon’s Blog, Treasures of Encouragement, for more Christmas encouragement.  www.treasuresofencouragement.org

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