In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town. Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Have you ever received a special gift on Christmas morning that came as a complete surprise? Did the magnitude of the moment have an impact on you? Sometimes a new birth and new life can bring a special kind of joy to families at Christmas.
Think back to the world of AD 3. Could humanity have realized the importance of the unusual birth of Jesus? What a surprise gift! God’s loving plan blessed a young virgin named Mary with a miracle child. During her pregnancy, Ceasar Augustus decreed that his whole empire must be registered. This necessitated each man traveling to the city of his birth. Mary’s betrothed, Joseph who was a descendant of David, traveled to Bethlehem with her to obey this decree. This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
An Unusual Birth
How unlikely was it that the Savior of the World and God’s only Son would be born in an out-of-the-way town with only animals and a dark night surrounding Him? He had no crown, no royal robe, nor pomp and circumstance; just an anxious young pregnant woman and the man to whom she was engaged. They had no doctor, no miracle drugs, no cradle, no layette. Surely Mary was apprehensive as she knew her the time for childbirth drew near, yet she followed in obedience in order that God’s plan could be accomplished.
After the Baby came, imagine Mary’s surprise when shepherds from the nearby hills appeared with their sheep to inquire of this event. These men, considered unclean by the Jewish ritual standards, came telling of an astonishing, blinding star that appeared in the sky followed by a multitude of angels who encircled them and began singing.
A Birth to Remember
Mary and Joseph must have known this was no ordinary delivery. Despite the mundane and commonplace surroundings, the angels and shepherds hinted at a bigger story. This birth was extraordinary; an event which brought new birth, new life both to Mary and Joseph in the form of the Child and to the whole world through His ministry.
Never again in the history of the world would a birth have such everlasting consequences and eternal significance. Hallelujah! What a Christmas to remember!
Have you given thought to the significance of Jesus’s birth – born in the humblest of circumstances to a poor couple; born to pay the staggering cost of your sin? This Christmas, let Him bring new birth and new life to you. Hold loosely to the things of this world and cling to the One who came to offer you eternal life.