When the time came for God to send his only begotten son into this world, as had been foretold by the prophets, the Roman Emperor, Augustus, had ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. Everyone had to register with the authorities in their own town and Joseph and Mary had to journey to Bethlehem in Judea (the birthplace of King David) to present themselves. The emperor had made the law, but this law helped to fulfil God’s plan that the Saviour would be born in Bethlehem.
Before their journey began, Mary was engaged to Joseph, but she was pregnant, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Nine months earlier the Angel Gabriel had appeared to her to ask her if she was willing to be part of God’s plan of salvation by carrying the Son of God in her womb and being an earthly mother to him. She agreed saying that she was God’s servant and would do whatever he asked of her. The journey was slow and difficult for Our Lady, as they had to travel over hilly country. But she was calm and peaceful. She knew she was doing God’s will. She was happy thinking of her Divine Son, soon to be born.
When Mary and Joseph reached Bethlehem, they found that there was no place for them to stay. At last, they found shelter in a stable. There, in that rough ground, the Son of God was born on Christmas Day and they named him Jesus, as the Angel had requested. His Blessed Mother wrapped him up warmly and laid him in a manger. Jesus chose to be born in the most humble conditions to show us that riches and comforts are not important at all.
AN ANGELIC FANFARE
The night that Jesus was born, God sent his angels to announce the birth. The angels were not sent to the emperor or the king, they were not even sent to the learned doctors and chief priests, they were sent to some poor shepherds who were watching their flocks on a nearby hillside. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and revealed the good news “Today in David’s town your Saviour has been born, Christ the Lord!” As soon as they heard the angel’s message, the shepherds hurried to see the wondrous sight and when they reached the stable they found Mary and Joseph and saw the baby Jesus lying in a manger. They were the first people to bow down to the Saviour of the world and they returned to their flocks giving praise and glory to God.
LET US REJOICE
Many Old Testament prophets had been comforted by the thought that one day the Saviour would come into the world. If those who lived in the hope of his coming were happy, then how much more should we rejoice because we know that God has kept his wonderful promise and Jesus has been born among us, to save each one of us. John 3:16 says that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” God did not send his son into the world to be its judge, but to be its saviour. Today we have Jesus’ teachings in the Bible. We have his Church, his body on earth and we have Jesus himself on our altars at every Mass. Christmas is the time when we realize more than ever how much God loves us. Let us praise and thank God for the gift of his Son, Jesus.
Written by Jerrin Joseph