Summary: An Advent Meditation on the birth of Christ and what that birth means for mankind.

“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.

Of the increase of his government and of peace

there will be no end,

on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it

with justice and with righteousness

from this time forth and forevermore.

The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” [1]

It is inconceivable to the human mind that God should become a man. Who could imagine such a thing; and if the Living God were to become a man, wouldn’t you have arranged matters differently than what has been recorded in the Word of God? Why should it be necessary that the transition from Heaven to earth require that God must be born in this manner? Why would this One—God in human flesh—subject Himself to occupying a young girl’s womb where he would grow for nine months before a common birth? Why would the One who hung the stars in space allow Himself to be compelled to transit through a birth canal with all the stress that necessitates on an infant? Why should it be necessary for God to become a child, dependent upon his parents for all the normal necessities of life? He would need to be fed, His messy diapers would need to be changed, and He would need to be bathed. God would deliberately make Himself vulnerable and dependent upon a couple of teenagers before growing to manhood.

The fact that God should become a child raises so many questions in my mind. Did Jesus need to learn the alphabet? When did He begin walking? For that matter, was He required to crawl before He walked? Did Mary and Joseph ever find themselves exasperated when their baby cried because he had filled his diaper and they were exhausted? There is not a hint in Scripture that Jesus was exceptional during the early years of His life in the home of Joseph and Mary. We must wonder, did this child Who was born of a virgin cry when He was hungry? We teach our children to sing,

The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,

But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.

I think most of us would agree that such an occurrence would be extremely unusual. Babies are known for their utter dependence on the parents. And babies cry—a lot! In this message today, we will focus on the Child that was born to Mary.

THERE WAS NOTHING EXCEPTIONAL ABOUT THE CHILD — To be certain, there were strange phenomena surrounding the birth of this child. Shepherds came soon after the birth of the little boy. These rough men had a strange account of angels appearing to them as they went about the routine of tending their sheep. These humble shepherds were united in their claim that the angels had announced that this child was the Christ. Can you imagine the scene? Mary and Joseph had not made particular noise about the fact that Mary’s pregnancy was announced by an angel or that Joseph was convinced about the origin of Mary’s situation because he, too, had received a visit from an angel.

Despite Mary’s advanced pregnancy, the young couple had trekked to Bethlehem in obedience to governmental demands. Joseph wouldn’t leave his betrothed in a situation where censorious eyes would cast their disapproving glances toward the young girl, making snide remarks about her condition. Arriving in Bethlehem, they were disappointed to learn there was no place available for them. After searching about, the young couple at last secured permission to stay in a sheep cote, a cave in which sheep had been penned during earlier months. While there, in that filthy environment and without the assistance of physician or midwife, Mary delivered her firstborn child. Then, literally hours, and certainly not more than a matter of a few days after she had birthed her baby, these shepherds had arrived. And what a story these rough sheepherders told!

Eight days after the child was born, there had been the encounters in the Temple. Doctor Luke, apparently after interviewing Mary herself and guided by the Spirit of God, provides us with a written account of these unsettling encounters. He reports that Mary and Joseph had gone up to Jerusalem in order to perform the purification rites that were to be performed on the eighth day following the birth of a child.

As they entered the Temple precincts an old man—Simeon was his name—had come up to them. It was as if he had been waiting for them to arrive. As he neared them, he had taken the child from Mary’s arms. Mary hadn’t protested—there was not a hesitation as you might have expected. Mothers are reluctant to allow strangers to take their babies from their arms; but somehow it seemed right to allow that old man to take the child from Mary’s arms. And the things he said were so stunning. The old man blessed God, saying.

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