Humble beginnings marked the entrance of God’s Son, Jesus, to life on earth as a Baby. His mother was unknown, His birthplace was a stable for animals, and His “cradle” was a manger—a feeding trough.
But it seems that the Baby’s heavenly Father and His angels had something else in mind; they added something more to mark the occasion. Those who knew the Baby’s true identity and great purpose on earth, marked the occasion in a historically unique way.
She [Mary] brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, see, the angel of the Lord came on them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, “Let us now go even to Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. (Luke 2:7-18 AKJV, emphasis mine)
Look at the shepherds’ reaction! They heard something extraordinary from a heavenly source, and they acted on it. When their hopes were satisfied, they passed on what they had seen and heard to others.
The benefits of Jesus’ birth and life are also extraordinary. Seven hundred years before His birth, Isaiah foretold the ways in which God’s Son, Jesus Christ, would be a blessing to all who would believe in Him.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV)
May our daily lives reflect the wonder of God’s Gift of Love on the first Christmas Day. May we give Him in return our profound gratitude and faithfulness and a never-ending love.