Christmas is a special day for many but especially for us believers as we celebrate the birth of our Lord, Savior and King Jesus. I think it is safe to assume that we are all familiar with the Christmas story, I mean you have seen "A Charlie Brown Christmas" haven't you? The Christmas story is the tale of a young virgin girl named Mary who was with child and betrothed to marry her Jewish carpenter fiancé Joseph. Because Caesar made a census they travelled to Bethlehem… The pregnant Mary rode a donkey named Nestor who had unusually long ears and Joseph walked the whole way. While they were there Mary gave birth to her son and named him Jesus as the angel had instructed. He was a special baby because he had a little halo around his head that distinguished him from all other children. It was also a burden in his older years because that same halo also gave away his secret identity. He was a Christmas baby, born on December 25th in a nice warm barn with all the animals gathered around to see this beautiful haloed baby. Out in the fields some shepherds were tending their sheep and an angel appeared to them to announce the birth of the savior. The three shepherds thanked them and immediately followed the star that led them to a stable where Mary, Joseph and the barn yard animals all adored this baby Jesus. That same night three wise men came along and offered their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. A little drummer boy accompanied them as well but he was sad because he had nothing to offer the newborn king except for his song that went ra pa pa pum pum. Joseph, Mary, little baby Jesus, the shepherds, the wise men, Nestor, the little drummer boy and the angels all gathered around the stable and sang Christmas carols.
Well maybe it didn’t happen exactly like that. I may have missed the part about Santa and his reindeer coming along to bring Jesus a toy since he was such a good boy. The song “Away in a Manger” does say, “No crying he makes”. As far fetched as this story may sound to you the truth is this version of the nativity story may be more familiar to people than what may have actually be considered the more historical and biblical Christmas Nativity Story.
Today we will be looking more closely at the birth of Jesus Christ and the historical and biblical aspects of his birth and his life as He came to this earth in the flesh. Most of all we are going to look at the true meaning behind the Nativity Story which is the story of humility.
Jesus’ birthday is not December 25, 0 A.D. He was most likely not born in a barn, He definitely didn’t have a halo around his head, there were not necessarily three wise men, and it is certain there was no little drummer boy that we know of. In fact his birth was less glamorous. It is more commonly held that Jesus was probably born in September or October in the town of Bethlehem but it is still debatable as to the precise date. Historically it is believed he was born in a cave near the Inn. The Bible also doesn’t disclose how many Magi (or wise men) were present it only states there were the three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
According to theologian D.A. Carson, It is most likely true Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem during this time because the Romans reorganized their administration in several parts of the empire and were carrying out fresh censuses for the purpose of taxation. The execution of such an imperial decree in Syria (with which the area of Judea was associated) brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, long ago prophesied as the Messiah’s place of birth (in Micah 5:2). There was no room for them in the inn, but as I stated tradition also holds that Jesus was born in a cave near the inn and not a stable.
There are more misconceptions about the Christmas story that I could talk about but I do not want to focus on them. I want to look at humility in this story and the humble life of our King of kings. I am floored when I think about the creator of all things coming to this earth in the flesh of humanity. One would think everything about his entrance would be a spectacle and his birth would be heralded among all the nations. However the truth remains, everything about our savior, including his birth, points to humility and serving others. Isn’t this really what Christmas is about? Serving in humility our brothers and sisters and sharing the message of hope through Jesus Christ.
Carson, D. A. (1994). New Bible commentary : 21st century edition. Rev. ed. of: The new Bible commentary. 3rd ed. / edited by D. Guthrie, J.A. Motyer. 1970. (4th ed.) (Lk 2:1). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press.