Reflections on the Holy Scripture

Historically, the event of the birth of Jesus and how it happened is known collectively as the Nativity. This includes the account of how Jesus came into this world and what happened nearly immediately afterward. This event of Jesus being born aside from His death and resurrection and the Flood can be considered one of the most influential events in the history of mankind, and it represents a period of great hope and joy.

It is this that makes The holiday of Christmas, usually celebrated on December 25, is a day designated to commemorate the birth of Jesus. Pagan influences have altered the typical traditions of Christmas as well as its original foundation. See Christmas. Christmas such a celebrated holiday today, though over time the holiday has metamorphosed into various things aside from the Biblical account. Still, it is best to study the foundation of this Christian holiday so as to understand the meaning of Christmas and what it means for us.

The Need for a Savior

In reality, the Nativity all began with the need for a savior when Adam and Eve first partook of the fruit in the Garden of Eden. This event introduced sin and consequentially death to the world, and thus the only way to obtain life would be by the sacrifice of innocent blood. This person would be known as the Messiah to the people.

Aside from the spiritual need of a savior, the Jews at the time were in need of hope. Backtracking several hundred years from the event of Jesus's birth, we find that a certain prophet Isaiah had made a couple of prophecies regarding the birth of Jesus. These are found in Isaiah 7:14 and Isaiah 9:6-7. These are prophecies given hundreds of years before the actual birth of Jesus to the people of God so that they may have hope in their times. The prophecies are quoted below:

14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

~ Isaiah 7:14 NKJV

6 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. 7 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

In other words, a child who is the Son of God will be born of a virgin female, and He will establish a better government for His kingdom. In the times of Jesus's birth, the Roman government was very oppressive on the people of God forcing them to pay taxes and being unjust. Plainly, the Jews were highly oppressed by the current government, and the prophecy of a savior was the only hope that they had. To them, however, the savior would come as a king, for truly Jesus would be a king, but in fact the Messiah came to earth in the most humble form of all: an innocent helpless baby.

Joseph and Mary

Image Unavailable
Depiction of the Nativity with Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the shepherds, some animals, and the star.
Image Courtesy: a

The virgin mentioned in Isaiah's prophecy would be named Mary, and she at the time was betrothed to a man named Joseph who was a descendant of King David. It is in the hands of these two persons that God entrusts His very own Son, a most high honor indeed. Mary learned of her being chosen to carry Jesus by the angel Gabriel.

Mary's meeting with Gabriel is detailed in Luke 1:26-38. In essence, Gabriel comes telling Mary that she is highly favored in the Lord, in fact so favored that she is chosen to give birth to the Messiah, savior of her people and consequentially the savior of the entire world. Now Mary was no more than a simple girl in Judea; she did not hold any noteworthy rank, so for her to be chosen by God came as a surprise to her. Despite this, Mary was very honorable and did not question the will of the Lord; she only asked how she would conceive a child since she was still a virgin. Gabriel assures her that the Holy Spirit will cause such to occur. And thus Mary surrenders all doubt and puts her trust solely in the Lord.

Joseph was however pledged to be married to Mary. In those days, it was very dishonorable for a girl betrothed to a man to be found with child before the marriage. Simply, it was thought that Mary had cheated Joseph even though the child was of the Holy Spirit. However, God had chosen Joseph to be the father-figure of Jesus His Son since he was just and honorable. And indeed, Joseph was these things. For Mary, having been disgraced would normally have been stoned or severely punished for adultery. Naturally, Joseph would have been angry with Mary, but even still he did not have the heart to see her killed. Instead, Joseph decided that rather than making her a public example, he would secretly divorce her, probably because he loved her.

But God intervened by sending an angel to Joseph in a dream telling him to take Mary as his wife anyway and assuring him that the child which Mary carries is indeed the Son of God and Savior of All. Thus Joseph being right in the eyes of the Lord did as he was commanded. These events are documented in Matthew 1:18-25.

And so these two figures both put all their trust in the Lord that all would happen according to the prophecy and according to His will.

Birth of Jesus

Jesus was born in Bethlehem as was foretold in Micah 5:2-5. In Luke 2:1-7, the account of Jesus's birth is given in detail as to why He is born in Bethlehem and where Jesus is born in Bethlehem. Caesar at the time ordered a census to be taken which required all the men to return to where their lineage was from along with their immediate families. Since Joseph was of David, he was to return to Bethlehem along with his pregnant wife, Mary. The journey was long, and all the while Mary was pregnant making the trip that much tougher. To make such a journey would require strength from the Lord.

The fact that Mary was ready to give birth during their stay provides some perspective to the length of time the trip took. Because of the census, there were a lot of people in Bethlehem, and consequentially, many of the inns were filled to capacity. This must have been quite an inconvenience for Mary and Joseph since she was about ready to give birth. Nevertheless, there was one innkeeper that allowed them to apparently be in a stable (for in those times, a manger would have been considered a barn). It was there that Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ, the savior of all. Jesus, born in a dirty and smelly animal stable, a most humble beginning for the King of all.

The Shepherds

As we have seen, Jesus was born in the most humble of conditions by a most humble of people. To add to this, the people who are first revealed the birth of Christ are the shepherds in the nearby fields. The shepherds were of course the ones who tended the flocks, but because of that they were typically dirty or smelly, and people would not have enjoyed being around them too much. It is interesting then how God firsts reveals the birth of Christ to these outermost shepherds.

The account of the shepherds being revealed Jesus's birth is detailed in Luke 2:8-20. First, a single angel appears to them telling them that indeed a savior had been born in Bethlehem in a manger. This was news to the shepherds, and they wanted to go greet Him. At that time, though, an entire chorus of angels appeared singing praises to God.

It is from these shepherds that the news first got spread. The shepherds were filled with joy for the promised Son of God had been born, and they traveled about "glorifying and praising God".

The Wise Men

After Jesus had been born, a great star had appeared supposedly leading to the birthplace of Jesus. The great star could have been a number of things: coinciding planets, a supernova, or perhaps simply God's glory shining upon His son. Nevertheless, it is this that some wise men came from the East to greet the Lord.

These wise men were indeed well learned scholars directly under king Herod himself. They knew the Scripture well (then the only Scripture in existence was the Old Testament), and they were able to recall the prophecy of Jesus's coming in Bethlehem. King Herod was nervous of Jesus being proclaimed a king more powerful than he, and so he sent the wise men to go and greet Him so he could "worship Him also".

The account of the wise men is located in Matthew 2:1-12. The wise men followed the star, which must have been remarkably prominent, to Bethlehem to greet Jesus. In fact, while there the wise men presented to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. After that, they were told to avoid king Herod (for Herod planned harm to Jesus), so they traveled a different path.

An important note is that there were not necessarily three wise men. There were at the least two, but more than likely there were many wise men all wanting to greet the Messiah.


All that was mentioned above are a part of the birth of Jesus. Indeed, it is amazing how the savior of all the world would be born of a virgin girl in a small town in a small manger and greeted by both the lowly shepherds and highly wise men. The account of Jesus, however, only begins with His birth and continues on in the rest of the four Gospel books, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In these books all of the life of Jesus is recorded from His birth to His lifesaving death.

And so it is this Nativity that Christmas is celebrated now. Although Christmas has changed over time to Christmas trees, presents, stockings, holly, Santa, mass shopping, and more, it is with this Nativity in mind that we as Christians celebrate Christmas with joy, peace, hope, and commemoration of a most worthy savior.



Fix IE