VOICE: The Glenn Beck program brings you the story of Christmas.
GLENN: This is a story, this is a story that has been told so many times. We all know where it begins and how it ends. It’s a story of birth and death. Of hope and despair. Of great doubt and even greater faith. That’s the part we’re going to concentrate on, great doubt and profound faith. As anyone can tell you who has stood at the foot of Abraham Lincoln, the Memorial in Washington D.C. and gazed up into his face, our historical figures are so often painted with such bold strokes that they become more giants than men, yet I believe to truly understand their brilliance, their courage or their faith, we need to see them first as who they really were: People just like us, people with hopes and dreams and fears. Just like us.
In Luke just before the Christmas Story, it talks just a little bit about Mary, the mother of Jesus, being visited by the angel Gabriel. It simply says, "And the angel came to her and said, hail, thou art highly favored. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women." And then it says, when she saw him, she was troubled. "Fear not, for thou hast found favor with God and behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son and shall call his name Jesus." That’s the bold stroke of history here. A simple woman called Mary, a young girl from a very orthodox Jewish community and unmarried. And yet, the story only tells us that she was troubled. Imagine the great doubt: "Was I truly visited or was it just a dream. How will I tell my friends, my family? How will I tell my fiance?"
The great doubt, the questions that must have crept into her mind: "Why? Why me? Am I worthy? How am I worthy? How am I to be the mother of the Lord God? He’s my savior. How am I to raise him when he’s here to literally raise me." How she must have prayed. How much time before that first Christmas did she spend on her knees begging for peace, begging for comfort and guidance. How she must have pleaded for the constant companionship of the comforter, the holy spirit, the breath of heaven.
GLENN: Now, on the long journey to Bethlehem from Nazareth in Galilee, Joseph walked and I suppose Mary rode. They were on their way for the census. You see, Joseph was a descendant of King David and he needed to register in Bethlehem, David’s hometown. And his fiance, Mary, was heavy with child. We’ve already talked about her great doubt: "Was I truly visited or was it just a dream? How will I tell my friends, my family? How am I going to tell my fiance?" When she did share the news with Joseph, he planned on leaving her, but he felt enough for her to do it privately, to not publicly shame her. Yet before he acted on his doubt, and no doubt anger, he was visited in his dreams and an angel spoke to Joseph saying, "Joseph, fear not to take Mary unto you as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost and she shall bring forth a son and you shall call him Jesus, and he shall save his people from their sins. And they shall call him Emmanuel."
Matthew only tells us that after Joseph was raised out of a sleep, he did as he had been told and took unto him his wife Mary. Great doubt? Even greater faith. You know, we almost run by this part of the story every year. Every year we just speed by these two people called Joseph and Mary so we can get to the Christ child part. But let’s stop. Let’s stop again here and examine this man named Joseph, a guy whose fiance had just told him that "I’m pregnant and not with your child. But don’t worry. An angel came to me and said that the child was the son of God and this would be a virgin birth." Great doubt? And then in a dream an angel comes to him.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had dreams that seem pretty real, the kind that stick with you all day. Let me ask you, what do you think was easier for him to believe? Yet Joseph chose to believe his dream. He chose to believe his fiance. Joseph, the simple man, chose his God. Still, his great doubt couldn’t have ended there and now he had to be faced with the same kind of self-doubt that Mary had to confront: "Why me? How can I be a dad to the son of God?"
I remember the Christmas when I feel I began to really become a man. I must have been about 30. And for the first time in my life I wasn’t really sure how I was going to provide for my children. Now imagine the fear, the doubt, the profound apprehension Joseph must have faced on that journey knowing that the woman he was now responsible for was about to give birth, not to his son but the son of his heavenly father. And he had yet to find out where.
GLENN: There really is very little written about this lonely trip to Bethlehem. I suppose one could imagine Mary was uncomfortable. And Joseph was nervous. And there in this little town in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a desert, in a stable, Mary gave birth. Such a simple beginning for a man that was born a king. His mother, after counting his fingers and toes, I suppose marveling at his delicate features, his tiny little hands, his feet. Holding him near her and them, laughing together, crying together and giving God praise for all of his blessings, she wrapped the babe in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, for there was no place for them in the inn.
So here we have these two people, not bigger than life. Flesh and blood. Life size. No larger. Just two people like us. Can you see them? No, not painted with the bold strokes of history. Just a man and a woman filled with trepidation, filled with fears and doubt just like any other expecting parent. Yet these two had exchanged presents with each other even before the reason of Christmas had arrived. Each giving to each other the gift of faith, profound faith. Faith in God, faith in their purpose and faith in each other. And in that region there were shepherds out in the field keeping watch over their flock by night, and an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, be not afraid, for behold I bring you good news of a great joy which has come to all the people, for to you is born this day in the City of David a savior who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you. You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God and saying, glory to God in the highest and on Earth, peace among men, with whom he was pleased.
And when the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us. And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying which had been told to them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds had told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard.
GLENN: For unto us a child is born, a son is given. And the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
GLENN: Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.
May the blessings of this season be upon you from everyone on Glenn Beck program.