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Birth of our Savior

The church was decorated beautifully, the music was outstanding, and the congregation responded joyfully. When the pastor began his message, he talked for a long time about what we don’t know about the first Christmas night.

After a while, the thought came to my mind, it’s true that we don’t know some things about Christmas, but that’s not really important. We do know certain things, and that’s what matters.

It happened when Caesar Augustus was Emperor of the Roman Empire, Quirinius was governor of Syria, and Herod was king. A decree went out that all the world should be enrolled and Joseph and Mary went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled.

When Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem, there was no room for them in the inn, but an innkeeper gave them a place to stay in a cattle stall.  While they were there, the time came for Mary to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger.

That humble birth did not go unnoticed. In Mathew chapter two we learn shepherds, while watching their flock by night, were alerted by an angel. Then, leaving their flock untended, they went to Bethlehem and found the babe lying in a manger.

Likewise, wise men from the East led by a star came to Jerusalem. When they were given direction, they went to Bethlehem where they found the child and fell down and worshiped him offering him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. After that experience, those wise men were redirected and went to their own country by another way.

History records another fact. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. In a furious rage Herod sent soldiers to kill all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under.

But there is another fact that is more important. Like the wise men that were redirected across twenty centuries and countless individuals encountering the manger child of Bethlehem who have had their lives redirected. They too went on by another way.

Howard Coop is a retired minister, author, and religion columnist that contributes regularly to The Jessamine Journal. He can be reached at howardcooop@kudu4u.com.