The birth of a child can be an exciting event in the life of family. My wife and I were blessed with five healthy children and have not experienced the pain of losing an infant at birth (though we did have one miscarriage).
Each of our children had a special component to their birth that made it unique from the others and treasured dearly by dad and mom. However, as special as the birth of our children was and is to us, they were just ordinary births and ordinary babies to the rest of the world. Other than friends and relatives, no one stood up and took notice of the births of our children. But during this time of the year we celebrate the birth of a child whose entry into this world had and still has infinite implications.
Let’s read about it.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:21 (ESV)
The birth of this child was the fulfillment of the words spoken by Isaiah the prophet. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 (ESV) Matthew 4:14-16 renders Isaiah 9:1-2 this way, “. . . so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” Isaiah continues, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)
This child is the one of whom John spoke in his gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:1-4 (ESV) “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (ESV)
This child is the one of whom the writer of Hebrews spoke, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:3 (ESV)
This child is the one of whom the apostle Paul wrote, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell . . . .” Colossians 1:15-19 (ESV)
That is why God the Father could later say of this child, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” 2 Peter 1:17 (ESV) God was well pleased because he was beholding an exact representation of himself. This child was the manifestation of the Majestic Glory (2 Peter 1:17 ESV); the infinite glorious God poured into human flesh. This was no ordinary child.
Years later in his life this child, “. . .who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8 (ESV)
This is the child of whom the angel spoke to Joseph, “ . . . you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21 (ESV) This child is the one of whom John spoke in his epistle, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:14 (ESV)
Again the apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV)
Who do you believe this child to be whose birth we celebrate this time of year? Was he just an ordinary child? Or was he the Majestic Glory in human form? Your answer has eternal implications.