Parents get very creative announcing the birth of their child. But in all of history there has never been a birth announcement to match the one found in Luke.
In our CAST OF CHRISTMAS series this week, our focus is the ANGELIC ANNOUNCEMENT.
R. Kent Hughes vividly and poignantly, describes the journey and birth of the Baby Messiah.
The journey left Mary increasingly weary as she trod those dusty miles to the south, and when she and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem they were exhausted—especially Mary. Then the pains began. Perhaps at first young Mary was not sure it was her time and did not say anything to Joseph. But when there was no doubt that it was the real thing, she told him—probably with tears. Remember, she was only thirteen or fourteen years old.
In Bethlehem the accommodations for travelers were primitive. The eastern inn was the crudest of arrangements. Typically it was a series of stalls built on the inside of an enclosure and opening onto a common yard where the animals were kept. All the innkeeper provided was fodder for the animals and a fire to cook on. On that cold day when the expectant parents arrived, nothing at all was available, not even one of those crude stalls. And despite the urgency, no one would make room for them. So it was probably in the common courtyard where the travelers’ animals were tethered that Mary gave birth to Jesus, with only Joseph attending her. Joseph probably wept as much as Mary did. Seeing her pain, the stinking barnyard, their poverty, people’s indifference, the humiliation, and the sense of utter helplessness, feeling shame at not being able to provide for young Mary on the night of her travail—all that would make a man either curse or cry.
If we imagine that Jesus was born in a freshly swept, county fair stable, we miss the whole point. It was wretched—scandalous! There was sweat and pain and blood and cries as Mary reached up to the heavens for help. The earth was cold and hard. The smell of birth mixed with the stench of manure and acrid straw made a contemptible bouquet. Trembling carpenter’s hands, clumsy with fear, grasped God’s Son slippery with blood—the baby’s limbs waving helplessly as if falling through space—his face grimacing as he gasped in the cold and his cry pierced the night.
AND THEN ALL HEAVEN BROKE LOOSE…
Read through the passage noting the ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE SINGULAR ANGEL, 2:10-12. Now peruse the ADORATION OF THE MULTITUDE OF ANGELS, 2:14. (By the way, do you remember the one other time this Heavenly Chorus was on the earth?)
Do not miss the three “birth names’ of Jesus. This is the only time in the Bible the three are together.
Finally, notice what the Son offers in 2:14. This is not peace among the nations! It to those whom God is pleased. So how does one please God?
All this and more this Sunday.