Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-7)

One could assume that Mary and Joseph intended to have their baby in Nazareth, the place where they lived. Preparations most certainly were made to that end. However, man makes plans and God laughs. The plans of God are from everlasting to everlasting and beyond all comprehension. An ancient prophecy revealed that Nazareth was far from the place of the promised Redeemer-King’s birth. The prophet Micah, under inspiration of God, boldly proclaimed hundreds of years before:

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times (Micah 5:2 NIV).”

So, how did God move Mary and Joseph from Galilee to the city of David, their ancient King, the one to whom God had promised a line that would last forever? He did it through a decree.

Augustus was emperor of Rome at the time and what they called Palestine was under his dominion. One day he decided it was time again to register people for the tax and he determined to send everyone to their ancestral home for that tax. Mary and Joseph, being of the line of David, were required to register for the census in Bethlehem.

Mary was great with child and poor as they were, they couldn’t afford any means of quicker travel. So, off they went, by foot perhaps. By the time they arrived, all of the places they could find were full of people already. The only place available was a stable among the animals. It was there, that Mary gave birth to her baby boy. In obedience to the angel, they called him Jesus, “Jehovah saves” is what it means. They wrapped him in what was available, burial cloths called “swaddling cloths” and laid him in the manger, a feeding trough for the animals.

We could only imagine how this saddened Joseph as he was unable to give his wife a cleaner, more hospitable place to give birth and his adopted son a more sanitary and warm place to be born. Little did either of them know that where they were was a part of God’s great plan.

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