Mary “gave birth to her firstborn son” in Bethlehem because of the providence of Almighty God. Joseph and his “betrothed” were in “the city of David” because a census was being taken, and the customs of the day required that each man be counted in the place of his clan’s origin. Joseph and the mother of Jesus were both of the “lineage of David,” the great king of Israel. Their little boy was the long-awaited Son of David, the Messiah.
Angels brought the news first to shepherds: The baby was “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” As Mary and Joseph set about doing what the Old Testament ceremonial Law required after the birth of a male child, more prophetic words came from holy people in the temple who were used by God to teach us about Jesus. He was “salvation” incarnate and “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.”
Life continued in relative obscurity for this special family for some time. As observant Jews, Mary and Joseph “went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of Passover.” When Jesus was twelve years old, He stayed behind in the temple after His relatives had set out for home. Mary and Joseph eventually found Him in the company of “the teachers” there, “listening to them and asking them questions.” The authorities were amazed “at His understanding and His answers.” His parents were “astonished” by what they saw when they found Him. His reply to His mother’s inquiry teaches us much: “Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?”
Jesus returned home to Nazareth with His parents and “was submissive to them,” and Mary “treasured up all these things in her heart.” Her Son, in His human nature, “increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.” His entire life would be lived in fulfillment of the whole Law of God and with perfect devotion to His Father in heaven. How else could He have saved us from our sins?
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Our Father, at just the right time You sent forth Your Son. This best child of Bethlehem is our King. Entirely divine and fully man, He is Christ the Lord. Born in a lowly manger, He came for Your glory and for our salvation. Thank You for Your mercy to us through Him. We treasure the truth of the Messiah in our hearts. Teach us to obey Him with our lives. We are so easily distracted by lesser things. Keep our eyes upon our Redeemer. Help us to see the meaning and importance of our moment in history as we work for the progress of Your kingdom wherever we are. Shine Your heavenly light throughout the earth, that many will come to love the gospel of our Savior’s life, death, and resurrection. We praise You, O God, for You have given us the One who is our redemption and our strong deliverer. He always kept Your commandments, for He alone has loved You with all of His being. He is our only hope.