650 YEARS PRIOR TO THE BIRTH OF JESUS
650 years prior to the birth of Jesus, the Old Testament Book of Isaiah reads as follows: 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.
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
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. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men
on whom His favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
What happened the night Jesus was born? Were they watching the bright star for miles before they arrived? Did they just barely make it in time before she delivered? She must have been worn to a frazzle . . all that travel on a donkey? All the bumps and rough roads? Did the trip bring on the labor sooner? It was a 3 day journey of more than 60 miles.
Was there a nearby woman to help cut the cord and clean up? (Not according to the text - Mary with her own hands wrapped the Baby in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger.). Her firstborn Son. Who is this child? The Son of God!
She had tried to remember everything Elizabeth had told her. Maybe what she wanted most of all was for her Mother to be there.
Mary had often heard the scriptures read. Here was the One the scriptures foretold. She did not know more scripture would be written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit . . firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29), firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15), firstborn from among the dead (Colossians 1:18) and firstborn from the dead (Revelation 1:5).
The angels went to tell the lowly shepherds. They were known to always be looking and watching for the coming of the Messiah. Shepherds probably watched their flock by taking turns. It fell to the youngest sibling and yes, female shepherds too. It was a dangerous job. Did the shepherds cry when their search was complete? Did they fall to their knees? They were filled with joy and praised the Lord. Perhaps the angels were there also but quiet so as to not wake the Baby. Mary pondered all these things in her heart.
When Joseph saw the Baby, was he fresh out of words? Did he stretch out his hands toward Mary and the Baby . . hands that were calloused and scarred because he was the son of a carpenter?
The angel said "a Savior has been born to you". Savior is not an official title. It's a mixture of human nature and divine nature. It encompasses all the past that the new telescope is now searching for . . all the prophecy fulfilled and prophecy yet to be fulfilled. It has the tenderness of tears in an angel's eyes and yet is majestic enough to humble the most haughty king. Savior.
He came to save us from our sins. Savior