"This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:18-21
I was visiting my brother in Sacramento a number of years ago.
My family and his decided that we would spend an afternoon floating the American River in a raft. We had a blast.
Our pleasant afternoon nearly turned tragic, though.
Looking up river we saw that our raft was approaching a section of rapids. As the raft began to pick up speed in the first part of the rapids my brother went to the front set of oars and I grabbed the back oars. We began steering the raft through the rocks and the rapids.
Suddenly someone yelled, "Where's Mikey?"
Mikey, my brother's youngest son had been wanting to use the oars but had been told "no". Unbeknownst to me, when I slid backwards to get to the oars Mikey had lunged forward. I never felt it, but he bumped into me and fell overboard into the rapids and under the raft.
Again, someone yelled, "I don't see him!"
It had to be a moment of divine intervention because immediately and simultaneously my brother and I both shouted, "He's under the raft!"
Without thinking nor remembering how I got there, I instantly found myself over the back of the raft holding onto it and dragging my feet on the rocks below. At the same instant and again, without thinking, my brother slid to the front of the raft. My weight at the back of the raft slowed it enough that the swirling water shot Mikey out toward the front of the raft where my brother, Mike, grabbed him up out of the water.
Mikey was saved from a sure death!
His disobedience had gotten him into a deadly spot. The force of the current kept him trapped. He was unable to free himself. Unless an outside force came to his rescue he was doomed.
Does any of that sound familiar? It should! That's your story! That's my story!
That story is the story behind the Christmas story. God sent "JESUS" - "the salvation of God"! That's why the angel was insistent with Mary and Joseph, "You SHALL call his name "JESUS" for He will save His people from their sins."