Another Christmas season is here. As usual for this time of year, homes are decorated with Christmas lights, stores are having sales everyday for Christmas shoppers and televisions stations are showing holiday-themed television programs and movies portraying people having conflicts yet resolving their issues just in time to have an ideal Christmas celebration before the program ends. In reality, however, this is not the case for many people, especially when you read the headline news. Police officers and civil rights protesters are clashing around the country, companies continue to layoff employees, and the Ebola virus looms large around the world, still with no effective antidote. On a personal level, unemployed workers are feeling a deep financial pinch, and many people are experiencing stress, loneliness or depression due to the death of a loved one, financial difficulties, physical challenges, or other reasons. Although this time of year is meant to remind us the birth of Jesus Christ, so many of us find ourselves struggling with despair and discouragement.
When we find ourselves in this situation, it pays for us to remember the story of Jesus’ birth and the faith and courage of Joseph and Mary. It serves not only as a reminder of the reason we celebrate this time of year, but also as encouragement for us when we’re faced with difficult circumstances.
Joseph and Mary were forced to leave their home, family and friends and travel to Bethlehem by order of Caesar Augustus, the emperor of Rome: Continue reading