The Birth Of Jesus
The second chapter of Phillip Yancey's book titled The Jesus I Never Knew
talks about the birth of Jesus and how it has been cleansed.
Today the birth of Jesus (Christmas) is a nice fluffy holiday with angels, stars, presents, Christmas trees, large dinners and more presents. We are even off work and the kids are out of school.
What was that first Christmas really like, was the birth of Jesus anything like the holiday we celebrate today?
After reading the chapter again and then the gospel accounts in Matthew and Luke I can't find much there that is warm and fuzzy.
Let's take a look at some of the details of the birth of Jesus as given in the Bible and from Jewish practices at those times. These are not the happy times that we envision as Christmas.
Mary had become pregnant before she was married. Joseph could have had her publicly judged and stoned.
All of the neighbors would have known that she had become pregnant before she was married and likely would have looked down on her.
In the latter days of her pregnancy she traveled to Bethlehem with Joseph for the census. At best Mary made this trip on a donkey for what was at least a three day trip from Nazareth. Did she have to go to Bethlehem or did Joseph take her along to save her from ridicule after giving birth to a child conceived out of wedlock?
It is unclear whether they were in a stable or a cave but it does state that Jesus was placed in a feeding trough for a crib.
Within the first two years of Jesus' birth Herod wanted to have this young "King of the Jews" killed so his family fled to Egypt.
These events do not bring to mind the occasion and events that we now surround Christmas with. I think this would have been a very tense and scary time for this young couple. I'm sure that only the promises from God delivered by the angels saw them through this.
The other interesting thing is in Revelation 12:4-5. "His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne."
Surely Satan didn't want the Messiah to be born at all and was working through Herod to try to have him killed. Even Satan knew that the Savior coming to earth was bad news for him but good news for us. Think how happy he must have been at the crucifixion. Better yet think how defeated he was at the resurrection.
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