The greatest story every told begins with these words. “For unto us a child is born” (Isaiah 9:6) . What we know as the Christmas Story, can be found in the biblical accounts of Matthew and Luke (Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20). Although there has been much debate over the details of the birth of Jesus, one thing is certain – His mission.
I often marvel at the resolve of the writers of this story because of the risks they took in telling it. An old priest is visited by an angel while serving in the temple. The angel tells him that he and his wife will have a son and that he is to be named John. The old man can’t believe it and so the angel makes him mute until the birth of the child as a sign that what he says will be so. Some how he is able to communicate to his wife what happens. Sure enough she gets pregnant at her advanced age. Six months into the pregnancy the old woman is visited by her cousin, a young girl who is also pregnant with the Son of God. The young girl was also visited by an angel who told her she would become pregnant without knowing a man and that her son was to be called Emmanuel (Jesus). The news was so shocking that her fiance was about ready to call off the marriage until he was visited in a dream by an angel that told him not to worry. Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, and Joseph had a lot riding on these angelic visitations. Can you imagine waiting nine months for a child to be born with everyone around you speaking words of doubt and unbelief? Then watching and waiting as the child grew to see if there was any sign of what you claim was true.
Fact is often stranger than fiction. When this story was told it was written as historic accounts of the birth of a savior. The Jewish world at that time was awaiting a Messiah that had been promised through the prophets of old. Some believed that Jesus was that Messiah and others did not. For those of us who believe, Christmas is a celebration to this miraculous birth. There is no greater gift than the gift of salvation and there is no better time to receive that gift than today.
Nicole D.P. McLaughlin