The Savior - yes, the Messiah, the Lord - has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! Luke 2:11 NLT
Isaiah was a prophet in the Old Testament in the Bible. A prophet is someone who gives prophecies, or predicts the future, base on what God tells him or her. It took a lot of courage to accept the call of prophet because the people did not want to hear the truth about the way they were living. Isaiah warned the people of Judah that they needed to change the way they were living, but they ignored him. He also prophesied that Judah would be conquered by the Assyrians, but comforted them with this hope: God has promised to provide a Savior. The message of Isaiah is that salvation comes from God - not man. God alone is Savior, Ruler, and King. The Lord spoke to the king through Isaiah and said, "The Lord himself will give you a miraculous sign. The virgin is going to have a baby. She will give birth to a son. And he will be called Immanuel." Isaiah did not live to see the Savior, but we know that he was speaking of Jesus! (Isaiah 7:10-14 NIRV)
So many of the Old Testament stories and prophecies pointed to coming to our world of the Lord Jesus Christ. And when Jesus, God the Son, came to our world, born in Bethlehem, we saw and understood that when God makes a promises to us He keeps His promises to us–always, every time, and to each detail.
God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary who lived in Nazareth. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph. The angel came to her and said, "Greetings! The Lord has blessed you and is with you." But Mary was very confused by what the angel said. Mary wondered, "What does this mean?" The angel said to her, "Don't be afraid, Mary, because God is pleased with you. Listen! You will become pregnant. You will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and people will call him the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of King David, his ancestor. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever. His kingdom will never end." Mary said to the angel, "How will this happen?" The angel said to Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you. The baby will be Holy. He will be called the Son of God. God can do everything!" Mary said, "I am the servant girl of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say!" Then the angel went away (Luke 1:26-38) When the Warrior-Angel Gabriel came to young Mary she was very much afraid. But his message was a message of joy and good new, for the world, but not for Mary. The message to Mary was dream-ending, rest-of-her-life changing, news. But Mary did not understand and asked how God could do that, but concluded that although she did not understand, she was willing to be a servant of the Most-High God. Mary did not understand God’s plan, but she trusted God. We can do that too!
The night Jesus was born, God chose to tell some shepherds in the fields nearby about His Son's birth before anyone else. An angel of the Lord stood there, the glory of the Lord was shining around them and they became very frightened. The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for I bring good news and it will be of great joy to all people. Today your Savior is born in Bethlehem, Christ Jesus, the Lord. You will know him like this: He will be wrapped in swaddling clothes and be laying in a manger." Then many angels joined the first angel. All the angels were praising God, saying: "Give glory to God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace to the people who please God." After the angels left, the shepherds said to each other, "Let's go see this thing that has happened." So the shepherds went quickly, found the child, just like the angel said, and worshiped Jesus! (Luke 2:8-15)
At the time Jesus was born the Roman emperor, Augustus, decided that a census should be taken. A census is when all the people were counted. Everyone returned to the town their ancestors were born in to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary who was ready to give birth to Jesus. Because so many people were in town for the census, all the rooms in all the inns were full. One innkeeper let Mary and Joseph stay in the stable. While they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, where the animals eat. The shepherds hurried to the village and found Mary, Joseph and the baby. After seeing Jesus, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds' story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them. (Luke 2:1-7, 16-21)
When the Lord Jesus Christ came to our world, some people recognized Him as God the Savior and accepted Him right away. And sadly, other’s did not have room for Jesus in their life. Jesus was born to our world so He could die for our world, making Christmas and Easter permanently joined in purpose, that Jesus Christ would be redeemer of man. Are we ready? Ready to C-hoose Jesus to be our Savior, Forgiver, and Forever Friend. Today, “I Choose Jesus, God’s gift to ME!” to be my Savior.
The king of the region Jesus was born in was named Herod. He heard about Jesus and called for a private meeting with some wise men. He told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. When you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” Herod was tricking them, since he didn’t want anyone to have more power than him.
After this, the wise men went on their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. (Matthew 2:1-21)
The Christmas story is the beginning of the fulfillment of the Overall Theme of the Bible: Jesus Christ – the Redeemer of Man. Very close behind this most important idea, the Christmas story is a story of the worship of Jesus. The shepherds came and worshiped Jesus on the night He was born, the evil King Herod knew he should have worshiped Jesus also, and the wise men traveled for perhaps more that a year to get to the place Jesus was so they could worship Him. For us today, Jesus should be both our Redeemer (Savior, Forgiver, and Forever Friend), AND, the one we worship and give our life to - everyday!
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