Christmas Then and Now

A Big Fuss Over A Baby Born In A Barn

Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, says that Christmas is a big fuss over a baby born in a barn. The baby of the barn who was laid in the manager is worth a great bother.

A little more than 2000 years ago, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus for a census to be taken and the entire Roman World. At the time of the birth of Jesus, a huge part of the world was controlled or ruled by the Emperor of Rome.

Caesar Augustus was a name to be reckoned with. He was in control. He had all power and authority. His word was law. Joseph and Mary far away from Rome, in Galilee, had to go from Nazareth to the town of Bethlehem to be counted in the census.

Emperors, Kings, Presidents, Prime Ministers, etc. may have power and authority, but the birth of a baby is according to God’s time and place. We may believe the birth of a baby needs to be in a hospital, but this is a modern belief. Even today baby’s get born in taxi cabs, cars, homes, and many places besides a hospital.

At Bethlehem, Mary went into labor, and the only privacy and shelter Joseph and Mary could manage was a stable. Jesus was born in a barn and laid in a manager. It may have been a stable, but it was a sacred place, a holy time and a sacred event that we celebrate yet today.

Shepherds out in the fields watching their flocks were alerted to the birth by angels. They traveled to Bethlehem and saw the baby in the manager.

Magi or astrologers in the east were thrilled by the appearance of a new star in the sky and connected the star with a promise given to the Jews that a King would be born to them who would be a blessing for all peoples. Some Magi set off to see this king born to the Jews. They did not arrive on the night of Jesus’ birth but much later.

Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus born in a stable. Because Jesus was both God and man, he is recognized for showing us God’s love. He lived in love, sacrifice, and obedience to God His Father. He was not concerned with collecting taxes, commanding armies, and being boss.

He came to help all people on earth through his sinless life and sacrificial death for all people. All people are sinners, no one is sinless, and all need God’s forgiveness and renewing. God gave love and forgiveness as a gift in Jesus. He is God’s gift of Savior and Lord for all who realize they are sinners.

Who can see that they are far worse than they thought when compared to God? Can we understand how Jesus is greater in grace, undeserved love and forgiveness than we could begin to ask to receive? While we were still sinners, Jesus died for us.

Each Christmas we recognize a power higher than Emperors, Kings, Presidents, Prime Ministers, and especially ourselves. We see God’s Supreme love for all in his Son born to us in a barn. Jesus is God’s gift of Savior and Lord for all sinners.

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