The Birth of Jesus
the little town of Nazareth, nestled among the hills of Galilee, was the
home of Joseph and Mary, who were afterward known as the earthly parents
Now Joseph was of the
lineage, or family, of David; and so, when a decree was sent out for the
people to be taxed, he had to go to Bethlehem, the city of David, to
have his name enrolled. This was a toilsome journey, as people traveled
in those times. Mary, who went with her husband, was very weary as she
climbed the hill on which Bethlehem stands.
How she longed for a
comfortable place in which to rest! But the inns were already full. The
rich and proud were well cared for, while these humble travelers had to
find rest in a rude building where cattle were sheltered.
Joseph and Mary
possessed little of earth's riches, but they had the love of God, and
this made them rich in contentment and peace. They were children of the
heavenly King, who was about to give them a wonderful honor.
Angels had been
watching them while they were on their journey, and when night came on,
and they went to rest, they were not left alone. Angels were still with
There, in that lowly
shed, Jesus the Saviour was born and laid in a manger. In that rude
cradle lay the Son of the Highest--He whose presence had filled the
courts of Heaven with glory.
Before He came to the
earth, Jesus was the Commander of the angel hosts. The brightest and
most exalted of the sons of the morning heralded His glory at the
creation. They veiled their faces before Him as He sat upon His throne.
They cast their crowns at His feet, and sang His triumphs as they beheld
Yet this glorious Being
loved the poor sinner, and took upon Him the form of a servant, that He
might suffer and die for us.
Jesus might have
remained at the Father's side, wearing the kingly crown and the royal
robe; but for our sake He chose to exchange the riches of Heaven for the
poverty of earth.
He chose to leave His
station of high command, to leave the angels who loved Him. The
adoration of the heavenly throng He chose to exchange for mockery and
abuse by wicked men. From love to us, He accepted a life of hardship and
a death of shame.
All this Christ did to
show how much God loves us. He lived on earth to show how we may honor
God by obedience to His will. He did this so that by following His
example we may at last dwell with Him in His heavenly home.
The priests and rulers
among the Jews were not ready to welcome Jesus. They knew that the
Saviour was soon to come, but they expected Him to be a mighty king who
would make them rich and great. They were too proud to think of the
Messiah as being a helpless child.
So when Christ was
born, God did not reveal it to them. He sent the glad news to some
shepherds who kept their flocks on the hills around Bethlehem.
These were good men,
and as they watched their sheep by night, they talked together about the
promised Saviour, and prayed so earnestly for His coming that God sent
bright messengers from His own throne of light to teach them.
"And, lo, the angel of
the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about
them: and they were sore afraid.
"And the angel said
unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city
of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
"And this shall be a
sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,
lying in a manger.
"And suddenly there was
with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and
saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will
"And it came to pass,
as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said
one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing
which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
"And they came with
haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And
when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told
them concerning this child.
"And all they that
heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." Luke