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The Map to Bethlehem

mapOur God is so detailed, and He holds the entire story in His hands. Not only is He the best at directing us where we should go, He is the one who created the map. When people question if God speaks prophetically, I love pointing them to the Christmas story. All throughout this beautiful story, God is speaking, directing, and fulfilling promises that He had made many years before.

Prophets foretold that “the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”).” Prophets had foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and it just so happened that at the exact time Mary was due to give birth, Caesar Augustus ordered a census, and Joseph had to return to Bethlehem. God was orchestrating His plan. Even when horrible things happened, when King Herod killed all the baby boys under two years old in Bethlehem and its vicinity, God was not surprised. Jeremiah had prophesied this horrible act many years before.

I always hated this part of the story. I don’t know why there had to be such evil acts, but I do know that God gives man freedom to choose and that no matter how much Herod tried to stop God’s plan, he couldn’t. Not only had God timed the story, but He was giving specific instructions as the story unfolded. As Jesus’s birth story played out, God spoke and gave direction to Joseph to marry Mary, led the wise men through a star, and later warned Joseph in a dream to leave to a safer place for the child.

Step by step, direction by direction, God’s wonderful plan is being fulfilled—a plan beyond our wildest imagination. A plan that would send us a Savior who would not only save us from hell but give us an abundant life here on earth and the opportunity to walk in a daily relationship with the God of the Universe! Our God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is still speaking to His children through the word of God, our Bible, and through dreams and visions. Our Creator is fulfilling preset prophecies. Throughout all of His children’s lives, His attention to detail is revealed. He has the plan, and He knows which direction He is taking you. You can trust and follow His lead.

As a little girl each December, my family of six would load up and embark on a ten-hour road trip to my grandmother’s house. It was back in the day when GPS didn’t exist and seatbelts were as deeply hidden in the valley of the cushions as old gum wrappers. I had no idea how to get from our Florida home to her joy-filled Alabama abode, and I didn’t even give it a second thought. My daddy was driving, and he never got lost. He knew which exits to take, which bridges to travel, and when his kids needed a rest break. He had mapped out the roads and knew exactly where He was going. My job was to do what my father asked, and before long we were pulling into my grandmother’s driveway where baked goods filled the kitchen countertops and presents awaited wide-eyed children. We always arrived safe and sound, and Christmas week was an over-the-top, more-than-we-could’ve-imagined holiday.

As we are reminded of the Christmas story, we see God directing and leading and His Mary and Joseph obeying. Just like in their lives, His plan for you is so much bigger than you could ask for or imagine. He can be trusted because He is in control.

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