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Unto Us a Child Is Born – The Story of Jesus’ Birth

For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder.—Isaiah 9:6

One day, in the tiny village of Bethlehem, not far from the old site of the Garden of Eden, a descendant of mother Eve, a young woman named Mary, bears her firstborn son. Whereas Eve hoped that her son Cain was the “man from the Lord” sent to save them; Mary knew her son Jesus was “that man.” How? The angel Gabriel had told her. The child had been supernaturally conceived. The angelic choir joyfully announced him as the “Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” The shepherds told her all about it. Yes, Eve only hoped; but Mary knew!

The account of the announcement of the birth of Jesus to the shepherds is one of the most hauntingly beautiful accounts ever written. The shepherds near Bethlehem were keeping watch over their flock by night. The night was dark and peaceful. Sheep-herding is a lonely occupation and a strenuous one. Grazing sheep range far and wide, and need constant watching lest they stray. Being defenseless creatures, they must be watched over by the shepherds, lest lions, bears, or wolves attack them while they sleep. These shepherds, although humble men, were necessarily rough and tough men. They were almost constantly isolated; unused to the stir and excitement of city life. The account says they were “abiding in the field.” This was their home. Their roof was the vault of heaven. They lived under the stars. There was a sameness and monotony in their lives. Every day was the same. Day in and day out, in silence, broken only by the plaintive cries of the sheep, the rustle of the wind in the grass, and the occasional distant howl of the wolf. Nothing exciting ever happened. That is, not until that night.

Suddenly they saw the most glorious sight that human eyes ever beheld!—”the glory of the LORD shone round about them!” This was no ordinary glory. This was the glory of Jehovah God himself! There is no greater glory.

We do not know the exact form or dimension this glory took; but it was a most magnificent sight! Is it any wonder that “they were sore afraid?” Then came the reassuring voice of the angel of the Lord: “Fear not, for behold, I being 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 Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10, 11). We may think we may have witnessed something wonderful when we attended a great symphony concert or a grand opera performance, but these pale into miserable insignificance when compared with what followed the angels’ announcement that night: “A multitude of the heavenly host praising God!” We sometimes refer to the best music we know as “heavenly music.” This was real heavenly music! Real angelic voices that were exquisitely delightful to the human ear. That is what the entranced shepherds heard; shepherds to whom “nothing exciting ever happened!”

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2 comments to Unto Us a Child Is Born – The Story of Jesus’ Birth

  • Anonymous

    It is a common misconception that Jesus was born in a stable. The angels told the shepherds that they would find a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger (Luke 2:12). A manger is defined as “a box or trough in a stable or barn from which horses or cattle eat.” (dictionary.com) In modern times we would find this in a stable, however, in the time of Jesus few people who owned animals were able to afford a stable. Most animals, at that time, were kept inside the house to protect them from thieves and predators. Most houses had an entrance area with the floor covered with straw where the animal was kept and then a few steps led to the living quarters. Some houses were built with a cave behind it where the animal was kept. They would have a manger with food, most likely straw, and water for the animals. Each morning the area would be cleaned and new straw put down. Luke 2:7 says Mary placed him in a manger because there was no room in the inn. The word “inn” in this case is Strong’s #2646 which means “guest chamber”, it is the same word used by Jesus when he told his disciples to arrange the last supper (Luke 22:11). In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus uses a different word to describe a public lodging place. In that case it’s Strong’s #3829 (Luke 10:34). Lodging places in those days were places of ill repute, not a place Joseph would take his young pregnant wife. So Mary placed Jesus in the manger because there was no room for him in the guest chamber of the house where she and Joseph were staying.
    We can also be certain that, after the shepherds witnessed the miraculous apparition of the angels, had they seen Jesus in a stable, they would have offered him their home. Hospitality to strangers was considered a duty in those days. The reason they did not, was because they saw that everything was proper and Mary and Joseph did not need any help.
    It is also a misconception that as soon as Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem Mary gave birth. Luke 2:6 states, “and so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.” From this scripture we see that Joseph and Mary had been in Bethlehem probably for several days. Joseph was of Davidic descent and probably had relatives living in Bethlehem, so most likely he and Mary were staying with relatives as was the custom for travelers at that time. This is speculative, but it seems plausible when we consider all the information. While Jesus’ birth was of humble origins, the tradition handed down through the years that he was born in a stable does not agree with the scriptures, the same as the date of his birth, Dec 25.

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Anonymous – Thanks for some interesting insights. The picture is more intended to set a mood then to depict the accurate scene. Thanks.

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