You have likely heard the saying, “Jesus is the reason for the season”, describing Jesus and Him being the reason we celebrate Christmas. It is wise to remember the reason why we celebrate in the first place and to not lose sight of this as life gets hectic and the to-do list overflows. The easiest way to maintain the right focus throughout the entire season is to focus on the Christmas story itself. While many great stories make their rounds this time of year like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Here Comes Santa Claus, Elf, Frosty the Snowman, and It’s a Wonderful Life, not even the most beloved classics can compare to the true story of Jesus’ birth. To sum up the greatest story ever told, let’s start at the beginning before Jesus made His triumphant appearance on the earth:
Mary Was Told What Was Coming
Mary was just a young lady who was betrothed to be married to the love of her life. She was likely enjoying the planning process, getting ready for the big event that would allow her to live happily ever after with Joseph. Then, her world got a bit more complicated when the angel, Gabriel, came to her and told her that God had chosen her to bring Jesus into the world. While she took the news admirably, she had to have been troubled. How was she, a virgin girl, going to bring a child into the world? What would her parents think? What about Joseph? Would he break their engagement?
Thankfully, an angel also took the time to speak with Joseph and collaborate on Mary’s story that she heard from Gabriel. Therefore, Joseph knew that Mary had remained true to him but was in fact carrying the Holy Son of God in her womb via the immaculate conception. This must have been scary for both of these young people. Who would believe Mary and Joseph's story? Would their families disown them? They had to wonder and fret. Thankfully, it all seemed to work out, likely due to their immense faith.
A Journey To Bethlehem
The next significant element of the birth of Jesus Christ's Christmas story is when Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem to be counted among the census to fulfill the requirements of the Roman Empire and ensure the proper taxes were paid. Each citizen had to travel back to their hometown to be counted, so Mary and Joseph went to be counted in Bethlehem, Joseph’s hometown.
As you can imagine, because of the immense draw of the census bringing people from all over into Bethlehem, there wasn’t anywhere for the young couple to stay. They ended up staying in a stable with the animals, as this was the only place for them to find rest. During that time, Mary gave birth to baby Jesus and laid Him in a manger wearing swaddling clothes.
The Shepherds Came to See Jesus
Sometime after Mary gave birth (but before they made their way back home) some shepherds in a nearby field were keeping watch over their flock by night. Suddenly, an angel appeared before them and told them the good news of Jesus' birth and explained where they could find the baby. The shepherds were understandably a bit frightened when the angels first appeared but were told “Don’t be afraid, I have good news for you and everyone. Today in Bethlehem a Savior has been born for you. You will find the baby lying in a manger.” The shepherds said to themselves, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what has happened.” The shepherds found the babe just as the angel told them.
The Wise Men Followed A Star
Finally, the last piece of the beloved story of Jesus’ birth includes the wise men. These men who studied astrology noticed the huge star that had appeared in the sky when Jesus was born. Because of their immense knowledge and study of ancient teachings, they knew the star signified a momentous event and meant the birth of a great king. Consequently, they wanted to travel to see this king and bestow gifts upon Him. So, the wise men followed the star all the way to the country of Judea, to its capital of Bethlehem. When they arrived they asked people “Where is the child who was born the king of the Jews?” Herod was jealous of this perceived new threat to his power. He devised a plan to find Jesus and have Him killed. He told the wise men to report back to him once they found Jesus. He, of course, lied and said that he wanted to go worship Jesus, but in reality, he only meant to take him out.
The wise men eventually tracked down Jesus and His family and bowed down to worship him, giving him gold, frankincense and myrrh. It is often assumed that there were only three wise men, because only three gifts are listed. However, most experts agree this would likely have been a larger group of travelers, traversing the area together and would likely have included more than merely three individuals.
King Herod’s Initial Plans Were Fraughted
Thankfully, the wise men were warned during a dream about the true intentions King Herod had towards Jesus. Therefore, they did not go back and reveal His location to King Herod. Instead, they returned east to their homes. Unfortunately, Herod was still determined to find Jesus and figured out that the wise men had tricked him. Jesus and His family were warned in a dream of Josephs’ to flee to Egypt to protect the baby from discovery. Therefore, the young family eventually ended up in their old town of Nazareth where Jesus grew up.
Celebrate The Birth of Jesus With Us
The story of Jesus’ birth outlined above is what this season is all about. Keep Christ and His birth foremost in your heart and mind this year as you share this story with others. Perhaps buy a Bible box or other Christmas gifts from our line at Love in Faith to further exchange your focus on Christ this year.
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