A Closer Look At The Christmas Story--by Kimberly A. Southall

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Most of us have, from time to time, read the scriptures in the gospels of Matthew and Luke concerning the earthly birth of Jesus.  Even so, another look at these scriptures can reveal something we hadn’t noticed before.

Both accounts clearly tell us that Jesus was conceived in a virgin through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:34-35).  Matthew 1:25 further supports Mary’s purity.  To the person who believes in the divine authority of the Bible, God’s Holy Word, this leaves no doubt but that Jesus truly is the Son of God.  Because Jesus was born to a virgin (Matthew 1:23), He fulfilled the prophecy made in Isaiah 7:14.

The name to be given to our Messiah is also found in both accounts (Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:31).  The name “Jesus” is a form of the name “Joshua” and means literally “the Lord saves.”  Thus, his very name defined his purpose here on earth.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:7) as a result of Joseph and Mary traveling there for the census.  This fulfilled a prophecy made seven centuries earlier (Micah 5:2).

And as if these facts were not enough to amaze us, we can see God’s awe-inspiring planning taking place with the appearances of angels, a phenomenal siting of a star, and special dreams.  An angel visited Joseph in a dream (Matthew 1:20), an angel visited Mary (Luke 1:26-38), and angels announced Jesus’ birth to shepherds (Luke 2:8-14).  The Magi or wise men recognized the uniqueness of the star and traveled many miles to seek the king of the Jews (Matthew 2:1, 2, 9, 10).  And through a dream, God protected Jesus from Herod by warning the Magi not to return to Herod (Matthew 2:12).

And from these precious scriptures we can also find the same reactions to Jesus as we still find today.  Matthew 2:3 tells us Herod and the people of Jerusalem were “disturbed” and we can also well imagine that jealousy, fear, pride, and hatred were key motivators for those people.  How sad for them.  Fortunately, others had quite the opposite reaction to Jesus’ arrival.  Luke 2:15-16 shows us that the shepherds rushed to find Jesus.  And upon finding Him, they wasted no time in sharing the wonderful news with others (Luke 2:17-18).  And then, having told others, they returned to Jesus once again (Luke 2:20).  Matthew 2:11 tells us the Magi worshiped Jesus and presented Him with valuable gifts.  Mary’s action, given in Luke 2:19, is also an important one—she treasured the knowledge of Jesus and pondered it in her heart.

How pleasing to God we would be this Christmas season and throughout the year if we would lay aside all the “disturbing” thoughts and motivations and instead, like the shepherds, rush to seek Jesus, tell others about Him, and return again to be in His presence; like the Magi, “go the extra mile” for Jesus, worship Him, and present Him with valuable gifts; and like Mary, treasure Jesus and ponder Him in our hearts. 

Copyright © 1997 Kimberly B. Southall.  All rights reserved.

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