Last time I wrote about the Christmas communication from the angels to the shepherds of good tidings of great joy for all people. This time I will be writing about the crisis that later followed the birth of Jesus.
In examining the Christmas story, we understand that the conception and birth of Jesus are both miraculous. The days and weeks immediately following His birth were fairly standard. Eight days after the birth of any Hebrew boy was their circumcision, and a couple of weeks after the birth of any firstborn Hebrew was their presentation to the Lord in the temple. (Luke 2:21-24) After they fulfilled their religious duties, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph traveled back to their home in Nazareth. (Luke 2:39-40)
Several months or even a year or two later, the Magi, wise men from the East (most likely Arabia or Persia), came to find Jesus. The Magi were astrologers and noticed an important star in the sky. Knowing about prophecies written of a King being born, they traveled for many months to find and worship the new King.
Not knowing exactly where the new King was, the Magi asked around and got in touch with the people who should know of a new leader being born, the political authorities. Herod, the Roman king/governor of Judea, told the Magi to find this King and let him know where the King was living so he too could worship Him. (Matthew 2:1-8)
After visiting Herod, the Magi see the star again and follow it until they find King Jesus. They are filled with joy and give gifts to Jesus and worship Him. The Magi are another excellent example that the birth of Jesus was good tidings of great joy for ALL people. The Magi were not Hebrews; they were astrologers and magicians from the East. They would have most likely been followers of a different religion, but they were now worshippers of Jesus. (Matthew 2:9-11)
|photo courtesy of freeimages.com
After meeting King Jesus, the Magi were told by an angel not to revisit Herod, so they traveled back home a different way. An angel also told Joseph of Herod’s anger and evil plan, and he, Mary, and Jesus escaped and lived in Egypt. Herod, not wanting someone to take away his job as king/governor, ordered the mass genocide of all children two and younger. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were refugees in Egypt until the death of Herod, and then they moved back to Israel and lived in Nazareth. (Matthew 2:12-23)
Next time I will wrap up the Christmas story and write about the most important part of all, the Christmas Commission.
The time is now; shake the earth!