Unto Us a Child is Born
- Nothing I can say will improve upon The Greatest Story Ever Told. Almost 2000 years ago, God sent his infant Son to teach us how to live, put us on the straight and narrow, and ultimately, be the blameless sacrifice that will take away our sins. This is the story of His birth.
The Old Testament book of Isaiah is a prophetic book speaking often of God's wrath as well as his mercy. The Jews were under the thumb of the Assyrians and sought deliverance from their torment. Much of what is in Isaiah can be dark and foreboding, but chapter nine is hopeful. The Israelite's needed salvation and Isaiah promised that their savior would come. However, their deliverance would not come in the form of a warrior brandishing a sword, but a sacrificial Lamb bearing a cross. The life that would be saved was not their earthly life, but eternal life. The peace that he would bring would not be an earthly cessation of war, but an everlasting peace. Isaiah often spoke if the world to come and the peace and harmony in which all life would live, but Isaiah 9 is not about the new heaven and earth, but the new era under the saving grace of the messaiah.
"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end."
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right.— Isaiah 7: 14,15
Long before the birth of Christ, Isaiah predicted that the glory of the Lord would be revealed. That glory was shown before Jesus was even born, when the young Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. That glory was shown when the star led the Wise Men to a humble stable, and when an angel appeared to shepherds. That glory was shown when an adult Jesus calmed a storm, fed thousands of people, and turned water to wine. That glory was shown on a Friday when He was hung up on a cross to die. And finally, that glory was shown on a Sunday, when Jesus' disciples discovered an empty tomb.
"A voice of one calling:
“In the desert prepare the way for the Lord;
Make straight the wilderness
A highway for our God.”
Every valley shall be raised up,
Every mountain and hill made low;
The rough ground shall become level,
The rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all mankind will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
From his roots a branch will bear fruit.— Isaiah 11:1
God delights in making the small mighty and the mighty small. It is fitting that the savior of all the earth would not be born in a great metropolis, but a small town. It was Moses, an unimpressive speaker who freed the Israelites. It was David, a young shepherd, who became a great king. And it was Jesus, son of a carpenter, who would save the world. Both Matthew and Luke lay out how it would come to pass that the Christ child would be born in Bethleham. When God has a plan there are no accidents, God safely brought Mary and Joseph to the chosen town, the place foretold where they would deliver God's precious gift to a fallen world.
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be rule over Israel,
whose origins are from old,
from ancient times.
Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labor gives birth
and the rest of the brothers return to join the Israelites.
He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
Will reach to the ends of the earth,
And he will be their peace."
In my vision at night I looked and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory, and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him, his dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.— Daniel 7:13,14
Matthew begins with a genealogy detailing how Jesus came from Abraham, thereby fulfilling the promise that God had made thousands of years prior. Christ's ancestors were fully human, as was his mother. Thus the Word of God was made fully human, yet fully divine. The author of Matthew details the Old Testament prophecies that foretold the birth of the Messiah. We also learn how Joseph, betrothed to Mary, learned of the miraculous circumstances surrounding the birth of the Christ child. Joseph kept Mary pure until Jesus was born and then helped raise Him as his own. The introduction of the Magi, not mentioned in the Book of Luke, show that Jesus came for the entire world, not just the Jews. Matthew gives the account of King Herod and the adventures that Mary and Joseph had on the run from Herod. The book explains how they ran to Egypt and settled into Nazareth thereby fullfilling the prophesy that He would be called a Nazarene.
"Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, which means ‘the Lord saves’) All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel.” – which means, “God is with us.”
When Joseph woke up, he did what the Angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus."
Luke 1:26-38, Luke 2:1-40
Luke gives the most detailed account of the birth of Christ. It is believed that Luke personally interviewed Mary for this eye-witness account. Luke describes the feelings that Mary had concerning her infant son, as well as the speech the angel gave to Mary. This book focuses on the shepherd's visit and the angel hosts who praised the name of the Lord. We learn about Simeon and Anna, two holy people who praise the Christ before their deaths. Luke describes the miraculous conception and birth of John the Baptist, who later prepares the way for the Messiah. In this book, we learn that Caesar Augustus issued a census decree. Through this law, Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem, thereby fullfilling the prophecy that Christ would be born there.
"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. [Mary] wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
The history of the world, the love and mercy of God, and the hope for the future all culminated in the birth of Jesus. Unto us a child was born. And to us, peace is given. Christ was born of a virgin, sentenced to death, was crucified, died, and buried. On the third day He rose again. Through Him, rests the salvation of the entire world. December 25 is the day we remember the miracles of the time he came down to Earth, in the body of an infant, and saved us all.
God bless everyone.
© 2017 Anna Watson