Christmas is Sunday. It is time to focus on why we celebrate this event. The announcements that were made to Isaiah, Micah, Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds. The story of Jesus birth. The praise of the angels, shepherds, Simeon, and Anna.
From the very beginning it is a supernatural story. Only God could have arranged all the details to make it happen. But happen it did.
Today the announcements come to fruition. The babe who was to be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, Jesus, would be born in a stable. Not quite what we would envision for the Messiah.
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Matthew 1:18-25, 2:1
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea…
Jesus is born just as the announcements prophesied. Virgin born, born in Bethlehem, laid in a manger, alone. From the perspective of man, this was all logical. Mary and Joseph were poor, from a non-descript village, questionable parents, among thousands of other pilgrims coming in for the taxation. Why would anyone care about them? We will see tomorrow that many did care. They were not alone. And this baby was destined to change the world!
Jesus birth also pictured His life. The swaddling clothes picture His death. The manger pictures His ministry where He had no place to lay His head. The travel Jesus parents made was indicative of His ministry of preaching from city to city.
God had a plan. The babe in the manger is the Savior of the world and more importantly of you and I. Do you know Him? If not, today would be a perfect time to repent of your sins and by faith accept Jesus offer of salvation.
Tomorrow we will look at those who first saw Jesus and their reactions.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001