A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

Although many people read the account of Jesus’ birth each Christmas, how many slow down and truly reflect on the circumstances surrounding this marvelous and miraculous moment in history?

It is the moment that all creation had been waiting for with great anticipation. Prophets predicted it. Men and women of God prayed to see it. Still, the world was completely unprepared for how this moment would unfold.

Bethlehem was bustling with congestion and busyness created by the mandatory census issued by Caesar Augustus. Despite being very close to her delivery date, Mary and Joseph braved the long and tiring journey home to the City of David. Hospitality was a precious commodity under normal circumstances, but the crowds for the census had exceeded Bethlehem’s capacity. Into this hectic scene rode an expecting Mary, led by her betrothed, Joseph. With the fulfillment of prophetic promises coming in mere hours, the couple found no housing in their time of need. There was no room for them.

Mary and Joseph were alone in a foreign town, finding themselves in a precarious situation. They were surrounded by a town overcrowded with people who were too busy to make room for them.

It isn’t unlike today when we gather together to celebrate Christmas. Some of us return to the town of our family’s origin. Our streets are crowded. Markets are buzzing. Accommodations must be negotiated—where to stay, for how long, and with which relatives. In the midst of this chaos, do we make room?

Prayer: God, help me prepare my heart for You this Christmas season. In the midst of plans and celebrations, may my heart be set on You so that all my gatherings and preparations would honor and glorify Your name. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them” (Luke 2:6-7).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.


Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.


The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.


He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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