December 13, Matthew 1:18-25
By Bob Kenison, Missouri Baptist Children's Home President
"Joseph, what will you do about Jesus?" Confronted by the angel, Joseph accepted his "call" and his life changed forever.
Confronted by the birth of Jesus, I immediately go back in memory to my years in the one-room country schools of Missouri. My teachers would always present the Christmas story with children playing the roles of angels, shepherds, wise men, and Mary and Joseph, singing, praying and bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to honor this birth and to proclaim faith. I never dreamed that there might be anyone present who didn't believe the wonder portrayed.
The program always concluded by some small gifts given and always a treat — usually a small bag of candy and an orange. I was always blessed by the event — it set the stage for Christmas.
Mary's sacrifice made the first Christmas special. My mother sacrificed to make sure that Christmas was special for us. Many times the gifts received were clothes we needed for school. To me, these gifts were wonderful, and I knew that in some way Christmas was part of the mystery of Jesus. But I wasn't sure how.
I met Orval Harmon, a pastor in Hannibal, when I was 17. He was telling my older sister about the Jesus of the manger, the cross and salvation ("He shall save His people from their sin"). He stopped me with the words, "Bob, this is for you, too." I was confronted with the same question that confronted Joseph, "What will you do about Jesus?" Within a few days, I surrendered to the work of His Holy Spirit and accepted Him as my Savior. The baby of the manger stood before me as Jesus, Son of God, my Lord who called me. My life changed forever.