The Biblical record of the birth of Jesus Christ notably omits the date of its occurrence and any record of a special observance of His birth. It is, some twenty centuries distant from its occurrence, still a subject of great wonder for several reasons:
• The simple and delicate record. Inspired historians consistently so treat events of surpassing significance (e.g., Creation, the flood). In forty verses (Mat. 1:18–2:12; Luke 2:1–20), we read the simple facts of Jesus’ parentage and the place and purpose of His birth. His virgin conception and birth are reported with delicacy, providing the true purpose and perspective for the event.
• The humble circumstances. Men expect kings to be born in pomp and splendor and in great cities. Baby Jesus began His earthly life in miserable circumstances. Bethlehem was a humble village overshadowed by nearby Jerusalem. There was no palace, no hospital, no doctor, not even a room. His birthplace was a cowshed, His bassinette a feed trough. Nonetheless, He would become “King of kings, “Lord of lords.”
• The heavenly announcements and praise. An angel told Mary and Joseph the means of Jesus’ conception and the identity of the child. An angel alerted the shepherds to this miraculous event and a grand company of angels issued a grand chorus of praise in honor of the occasion. No other birth has ever excited such attention and interest from Heaven.
• The attraction of foreign sages. Weddings, funerals, and births of known princes have long attracted notables from afar, but Jesus was unknown, even in His own nation. The magi traveled several hundred miles to honor Jesus’ birth.
• The political jealousy and murder it stirred. King Herod’s insane jealousy could not entertain any thought of a political rival. In his effort to eliminate the imagined threat, he slaughtered several defenseless infants and broke the hearts of perhaps dozens of innocent parents. (Before we judge Herod too harshly, may we reflect on the 50 million defenseless babes that American mothers, judges, and doctors have shamelessly sacrificed on abortion’s bloody altar since 1973).