“At that time, Augustus Caesar sent an order that all people in the countries under Roman rule must list their names in a register. This was the first registration; it was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to their own towns to be registered. So Joseph left Nazareth, a town in Galilee, and went to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, known as the town of David. Joseph went there because he was from the family of David. Joseph registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was now pregnant. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, and she gave birth to her first son. Because there were no rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough.” (Luke 2:1-7)
It seems there’s no end to the show of lights, the sparkling Christmas trees, the mysterious gift packages, and the overall excitement and anticipation of the Christmas season. However, when we look back to the moment in time this season commemorates, we may gain a different perspective on the meaning of this holiday.
Jesus’ Real Birth
In many ways, it’s difficult in our modern experience to really understand just what happened 2000 years ago in that little town of Bethlehem. How did the young couple cope with the responsibility God had given them? Travel weary and seeking shelter as the pains of birth began, they settled in the only place available for them and the unborn child, whose first bed was most likely a stone carved trough used for watering animals.
Outwardly, the situation may not seem uncommon to the human experience, but in reality this birth was unique and completely different from any other birth before or since. This baby’s birth was predicted in the scriptures (Isaiah 7:14), came from the Holy Spirit, was announced by angels (Matthew 1:18-23), was witnessed by shepherds (Luke 2:8-20), and marveled at by wise men from the east (Matthew 2:1-12).
These words from the contemporary song “Mary, did you know?” echo in our minds as we meditate on this amazing event:
“Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding, is the great I am.”*
This baby, named Jesus by his father according to the angelic message, is the Treasure come from Heaven, who grew in wisdom and stature, finding favor with God and people (Luke 2:51). This man, Jesus, taught like no other man, performed wonders, signs and miracles, and eventually was crucified by the religious leaders who hated him. Three days later, he burst forth from the tomb alive and the world has never been the same (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
Your Life is Up to You
So, we must ask the question: What will you do with Jesus?
Our culture would encourage us to leave him in that feeding trough as a sweet, newborn baby swaddled in cloths, but Jesus never gives us that option. He grew up and fulfilled his mission as the perfect lamb of God, submitting himself to the cross to take care of sin and death for all who choose to follow him as disciples. We invite you to come and see for yourself the treasure of Jesus, who is now seated at the right hand of God, waiting for your response (Philippians 2:5-11).
Our prayer is that you, your family and those you love will enjoy the blessings of this most wonderful season, and most of all that you will find the eternal treasure that God has waiting for you in the person of Jesus (John 14:1-4).