The story of baby Jesus is a fascinating tale of what true faith can do. The commemoration and celebration of Christmas are largely due to this series of events. It all started out in Judea, 2000 years ago, when an angel, Gabriel, was sent to Mary, a young woman, to deliver some rather surprising news.
The angel was sent to relay the message that God was pleased with Mary, and that He had blessed her. Apprehensive and confused, Mary had no idea what the angel meant. Angel Gabriel then went further to explain that she would bear a child, a gift from God and the Holy Spirit and that she would name the child Jesus, God’s son, whose everlasting Kingdom would never.
Petrified, Mary decided to trust in God’s judgment, but in the same breath, the angel also told her that her cousin, Elizabeth, who was way past childbearing age, would also have a child who would pave the way for her son, Jesus. Still a bit confused, Mary packed, said her goodbyes to her family and friends, and rushed to visit her cousin to see she had also gotten the news. Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah knew the entire story, and they convinced Mary to accept God’s will.
Three months later, Mary went back to Nazareth. Having been engaged to Joseph, a local carpenter at the time, Mary had a hard time convincing her husband that the baby was a blessing from the Holy Spirit. They hadn’t married yet, and have not consummated their marriage, Joseph was still in two minds over whether or not he should go through with the wedding. Like Mary, an angel appeared to Joseph in the height of his doubts, told him how Mary had been chosen by God to give birth to the Messiah, the savior of the world, the highest of all honors. The angel convinced Joseph to go ahead with the wedding, and Joseph complied.
Their life began in turmoil. The then Emperor Augustus imposed taxes and required everyone to go back to where they were born so he could have a clear view of those who complied and those who tried to cheat him out of his dues. Joseph and Mary had to travel back to Bethlehem, Joseph’s place of birth, which was about 40 kilometers away. Being of humble means, this young couple had to make most of the trip by foot, and by then Mary was heavily pregnant so the trip was slow. It took several days to get to their destination, and when they finally got there, all the rooms were booked and they couldn’t find a place to stay.
Many people lived in and around the Bethlehem area, and upon the Emperors command, they had all made the trip down to comply with the census. Mary and Joseph were forced to seek shelter in a manger, with animals as company. That night, Mary gave birth to Jesus. At the crack of dawn, an angel appeared to a group of shepherds who were looking after their sheep through the long night and gave them the good news. The angel spoke of the birth of a savior and gave them directions as to where they would find the baby.
Glory be to God in the highest, and peace be to earth’ chimed all across the heavens as the angels sang praises to the Highest celebrating the birth of Jesus. The Shepherds made their way to Bethlehem, saw baby Jesus exactly where they had been told He would be. When they left they sang praises and told everyone what they had seen, and how it was all miraculous.
Another group of people saw a star in the sky, brighter than any they had ever seen. These three wise men debated about what it might mean, but then reached a consensus to follow it. They knew it indicated a great king had been born, based on ancient readings, but they had to be sure. So they packed up their belongings and followed the star.
Unfortunately, when they got to Judea, they asked the people for the new king of the Jews who had been born. Herod, the then king of the Judea, heard the news, and he wasn’t too happy about it. So he sent for the wise men, asked them to follow the star until the found this new king, then come and tell him so he could worship this new king as well. What the wise men didn’t know was that Herod intended to kill Jesus in his crib.
The star led the wise men directly to Jesus, where they found him cuddled up in his mother’s arms. They worshipped and sang praises to the new king, and they presented him with gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. They were in awe, grateful they got the chance to see the Messiah, to bask in his glory.
When they left, they went straight home in the East, this is because an angel of God had told them of Herod’s intentions, and this had convinced them not to go back to him with information on the location of baby Jesus. They used a different route, passing away from Judea. Herod had in fact anticipated that the wise men would not stay true to their word, so in fury, he gave an executive order to his soldiers to kill every boy child aged two years or below in an attempt to eliminate this threat of a new king.
An angel had however already alerted Joseph on Herod’s plans, and by the time the soldiers got to where the young couple and their son were living, they had already fled to Egypt. Joseph, Mary and their son Jesus stayed in exile in Egypt until Herod died, at which point an angel appeared to Joseph and instructed him to go back to Israel. Before getting to Israel however, Joseph got wind of the news that Herod’s son was now king, and knowing the apple would not fall far from the tree, Joseph opted to go to Nazareth instead, which is where the name Jesus of Nazareth’ was coined from. You can find the best babyJesus figurines at holyart.co.uk