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In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
- Luke 1:26-27
 
This week we’re kicking off a brand-new series we’re calling “The Joy of Christmas.” Throughout the narrative of Jesus’ birth, we’re told time and time again that people experience joy and are encouraged to rejoice. And we could all use a little more joy in our lives.
 
Today’s snippet of the Christmas story serves a very important purpose: to ground the story in the real world.
 
The story of Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection doesn’t take place in some fairy-tale place … “Once upon a time” or “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” This story happens in a town in Galilee, Nazareth. This was a small town, easily overlooked. And this is where God sent the angel Gabriel.
 
This week’s story takes place in the life of a woman named Mary. Mary had relatives (like Elizabeth) and a fiancé (Joseph, who had a distant link to the royal family). And Mary had never been married before.
 
The story takes place in time (in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy) which roots it both in history and in a very particular historical narrative.
 
God meets us in the real world. He doesn’t sweep us off to heaven for every encounter with him. He doesn’t demand we climb the mountain for every meeting with him. God comes to us. He enters into our time, our relationships, and the places where we live. And this makes every place, every relationship, every moment infinitely meaningful.
 
Ask God to show up in your life in a special way. Ask him to have ears to hear what he wants you to hear from him today.

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