“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…”
So begins Isaiah 9:6. The announcement elicits excitement in expectant couples when the desire to have a child is realized. But this child would be no ordinary child, although He was. Many would see what we all see when we look in the face of a newborn – the miracle of birth. But those with eyes to see saw more.
God announced his birth thousands of years before it happened.
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman,
and between thy seed and her seed;
it shall bruise thy head,
and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
By eyes of faith Adam and Eve and the millions born of them would see the One to be born of a woman and defeat Satan. Throughout the Old Testament each book reveals shadows of who this child would become. Isaiah made it clear, as usual as his birth might be, his conception would be most unusual.
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Around seven hundred years later those with eyes to see beheld the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:
- When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost…
- for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
- And she shall bring forth a son,
- and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Behold, a virgin shall be with child,
and shall bring forth a son,
and they shall call his name Emmanuel,
which being interpreted is, God with us…
Joseph…knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son:
and he called his name Jesus.”
The advent of God with us echoed throughout the Old Testament writings. The Seed of God in the womb of a woman grew and was born as any other baby. The shepherds saw the heavens erupt with the praise of angels at His birth.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David
which is Christ the Lord.”
Mary’s mind must have been reeling as she thought on the shepherds’ visit and the things told her in the beginning. Jesus, her son, God’s Son, would save the people from their sin. Looking at his tiny face she saw Immanuel, God with us. Only time would reveal the import of it all. For now, she could only keep, ”…all these things…in her heart.”
As the law required on the eighth day Joseph and Mary took her son to be circumcised, naming him Jesus. An ordinary happening for any Jewish boy. After her time of purification, Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to present him to the Lord, again fulfilling the law, “Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”. Ordinary events in a Jewish family until an old man, Simeon took the baby in his arms. He blessed the Lord saying,
“…mine eyes have seen thy salvation…A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel…”
At that same instant an aged woman, Anna, came to them and gave thanks to the Lord for she had eyes to see the redemption of Israel in this small child.
Later, wise men came to see the child the heavens declared a king. Herod saw only a threat to his throne. Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt to protect Jesus. They would return to their hometown of Nazareth after Herod died. There Jesus grew as children grow.
“And the child grew,
and waxed strong in spirit,
filled with wisdom:
and the grace of God was upon him.”
The son of man, the Son of God, a most unusual child. Many looked upon him but only a few had eyes to see Christ the Lord, the light that erupted into a dark world on the night of his birth.
“In him was life;
and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness;
and the darkness comprehended it not…
I am the light of the world:
he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,
but shall have the light of life.”
What do you see when you look on the baby lying in a manger? Your answer determines your eternity.
Adapted from my post, “A Most Unusual Child” published in 2017.