'Twas 9 Months Before Christmas...Remember the Story!
Read up on this movie-like story. (In fact, award winning The Nativity Story is now showing on screens worldwide!) It's surreal...like this angelic girl.
We still sing “We wish you a Merry Christmas” and visit museums filled with art depicting the birth of Jesus. Those who know the Christmas story are culturally informed. We went back to its source, the Bible, to share it with you.
What Christmas Celebrates
Christmas celebrates Jesus’ birthday. Who is he and what's the big deal?
The Bbile says that Jesus is the Son of God. Way before his birth, many prophets (wise people) spoke and wrote God's messages about the coming of this King sent from God. He would be a blessing to all nations and would re-unite the people with God.
How did they get separated?
In the Bible, God created man and woman perfectly, and that includes giving them choice. Love is a choice. This first man and woman (Adam and Eve) were given the choice to love and obey God. (Don’t we feel that when our kids obey they are loving us?) Adam and Eve chose their way. It’s like they were given a pure white paint and chose to put in a dash of orange. You and I do the same thing, don’t we?
The problem is that God is pure white and cannot mix with orange (or purple or…) For us to be reunited with God, either God becomes un-perfect (would you want that?) or we become totally cleaned. The Bible teaches that Jesus led a perfect life and did that cleaning work for those who want to be scrubbed. Those who want it are then reunited with God thanks to Jesus Christ.
God's son isn't born like everyone!
The Angel visits Mary and Joseph
God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus. He sent an angel to tell her so. Imagine her SURPRISE when the angel greeted her saying, “You are beautiful with God’s beauty, beautiful inside and out.” The angel continued, “Do not be afraid. God has a surprise for you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus. He will be great, be called the ‘Son of the Highest.’” When Mary asked how this would happen, the angel answered,
“The Holy Spirit (God’s spirit) will come upon you…
Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.” (1)
Now Mary was a virgin engaged to be married to Joseph of David’s family. The angel also visited Joseph and confirmed this message.
Jesus is Born in Bethlehem
At that time, the Romans ruled over Israel and wanted to know how many people they were governing. They ordered all the Israelites to be counted in their cities of origin. Since Joseph was of David’s family, he and his pregnant wife, Mary, made the trip to Bethlehem, David’s city.
David had been a king of Israel 1000 years earlier and had numerous descendants, surely in the hundreds of thousands. Bethlehem, an otherwise small town, became inundated with people. Joseph and his pregnant wife Mary arrived into this overcrowded city where rooms were double-and triple-booked. The only place left was where people would not go: the stable. (It may also have been the quietest spot in town.) Here, Jesus was born.
Angels Visit the Shepherds
Shepherding was a long standing occupation in Hebrew families. Shepherds spent months out “on the range” living with their flock. These were not the popular people, nor the wealthy and powerful ones.
Imagine their astonishment and terror when an angel appeared to them! The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide. A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.” (2) The dark night was transformed into light as a huge angelic choir appeared singing God’s praises.
The shepherds ran to Bethlehem to see for themselves. “Seeing was believing…It turned out exactly the way they’d been told.” (2)
Wise Men Visit Jesus
Astrologers from the east noted a unique star formation and interpreted it as the sign of the birth of a king. They followed the star, travelling more than one month by camelback over 800 miles (scholars believe they came from either Persia or Southern Arabia) before reaching what they thought was their destination: Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. But no! King Herod and his scholars re-oriented them to Bethlehem, the predicted birthplace of Israel’s shepherd-ruler.
The wise men continued on this less than 10 mile journey to discover the newly born king of the Jews. Again, the star they had seen in the eastern skies went before them, hovering over the place of the child.
“They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.” (3)
Quotes from the Bible:
(1) Luke, Chapter 1, verses 26-38. Also Matthew, Chapter 1, verses 18-25
(2) Luke, Chapter 2, verses 8-18
(3) Matthew, Chapter 2, verses 1-12