Luke 1:30-33 (NKJV)
30 Then the angel said to her, �Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.�

This was the announcement to Mary that she would become the mother of Jesus and it was also a proclamation of the fulfillment of a promise made to King David.

Despite our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin's womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked "No Entrance" and left through a door marked "No Exit." �Peter Larson

Man�s desire to become like God brought sin and death into the world. We tried to push God out of the world He created, but God wasn�t going to let that happen. Instead God had a plan to bring salvation through a baby born to a virgin mother. The baby would grow up living a sin free life to become the perfect sacrifice. Through no fault of His own, Jesus was condemned to death. The life of a criminal, Barabbas, was spared and Jesus died a physical death in place of Barabbas.

Again, it was Man�s choice. The crowd was offered a choice of whether to have Barabbas or Jesus released from Roman custody. The crowd chose Barabbas to be released and Jesus of Nazareth to be crucified. Pilate who made the decision is portrayed as reluctantly yielding to the insistence of the crowd. A passage found only in the Gospel of Matthew has the crowd saying, "Let his blood be upon us and upon our children."

This Christmas and every Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ into our world. It is a reminder that God stepped down from heaven to become man and to live among us. �For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.� God continues to call out to us offering His salvation and freedom from sin. Christmas is that special time of year to celebrate God�s gift to us; the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Barabbas was set free because of Jesus Christ and we too can be set free from sin because of our faith in Him.

This time of year I take several weeks off from writing my devotions to remember God, Christ, family and friends. Before I close the year, as a friend, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas. I pray God would bless you this Christmas season with peace and joy. Let us give glory to God in the highest, and on earth show peace and good will towards all people. God bless you, each and every one. � Art