Christmas is upon us and I am glad to say Elizabeth, Grace and I are blessed to enjoy yet another amazing festive season in the sunshine state. Reflecting on the true meaning of the most popular holiday I was inspired to examine scripture from Luke’s gospel which describes the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. And all went to be registered, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.” (Luke 2:1-6)
In those days the census or “registration” took place at each person’s ancestral home. Since Joseph was a descendant of David he would have to travel back to Bethlehem to be registered. The trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem is approximately 90 miles and would have taken Joseph and Mary at least three days.
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)
Certainly not a castle fit for a king, Jesus was born in a manger, seemingly a cave or stable that served as a feeding trough for animals. It is easy to conclude the Christian nativity scene stems from the manger mentioned in scripture placing farm animals and hay around Jesus.
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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 toward men.” (Luke 2:8-14)
The shepherds typically had a night watch to keep robbers and wild animals at bay, during this time God’s glory appeared as light in the night indicating that the people’s savior had been born.
“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. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” (Luke 2:15-20)
Though the news of the birth of Jesus spread quickly among the villages surrounding Bethlehem, Mary remained humble and quiet about the birth of her son.
“And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” (Luke 2:21)
Our savior was named Jesus, appropriately translating to “salvation” in English. It is important to know Jesus is not our Lord’s original name but a modern interpretation thereof. Since Joseph and Mary most likely spoke Aramaic, Jesus’ actual name may have been pronounced like “ee-ay-soos” until a few hundred years ago when, in the New King James translation of scripture, the name of our Lord was written as Jesus.
Born of a divinely chosen virgin, the birth of Jesus Christ and His ministry changed the world forever. His endless love and eternal grace is at the root of Christianity. His life is a model from which everyone can gain wisdom, strength and forgiveness. His death on the cross allows God’s children to repent as they allow ourselves to be washed of our sins.
Let us be sure to remember this day for it’s true miraculous significance rather than the Saint-Nicholas myth and more importantly, be certain to teach our children about the manger in Bethlehem way back when.
May you cherish the birth of Christ, the holiday season and enjoy a most wonderful Christmas. Let’s pray!
We thank you for all that surrounds us, for your love.
We praise your name and celebrate your birth
From Mary, a virgin mother chosen by God almighty.
Lord we thank you for your Word the Bible
And for sending your son Jesus to live and die for us
So that we learn from him guiding our lives after his.
God we pray you will give us strength in difficult times
And bless us with your light among the darkness that surrounds us.
Please Lord forgive our sins as only you can
And lay before us your path for our lives
So that we may follow in your footsteps and not stray with Evil.
Thank you almighty God for all that you make possible
Today and forever!
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre