“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…” So begins Isaiah 9:6. The announcement normally 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. 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.” Gen. 3:15. He would 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.” Isa. 7:14.
Around seven hundred years later it happened as Isaiah prophesied.
“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.”(Matt. 1:18-25).
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. But then the heavens erupted with the song of angels . Shepherds came and told everyone they met about this little one born in the city of David, whom the angels proclaimed to be Christ the Lord.
Mary’s mind must have been reeling as she thought on these things; Jesus, her son, God’s Son, would save the people from their sin. In wonder, looking at his tiny face and seeing Immanuel, God with us. Hearing the shepherds report, a Savior, Christ the Lord. 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 until an old man, Simeon, waiting around the temple in hope of seeing the Messiah before dying, approached the family. Taking 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…” After blessing the family, he spoke to Mary, “Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul…” At that same instant an aged woman, Anna, came to them and gave thanks to the Lord and spoke of the redemption in Israel. Joseph and Mary could only marvel at all that happened.
Wise men came to visit the child bringing gifts fit for a king. Herod feared this little one to the extent he ordered all boys two and under to be killed. Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt to protect the child. 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.
When you think on this account of what we call Christmas, what comes to your mind? Is it a good story or truth that changes lives? How has this holy Child changed your life?