Four hundred years had passed between the last writing of the Old Testament and the beginning of the new testament, however the prophet Isaiah had prophesied "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name is called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace"(Is 9:6, ISV), nearly 700 years before the birth of Christ.
This is a very long time to wait especially when you read some of the names this child will be known as; Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. WOW. Not to mention the Hebrew nation had gone through a long run of bad kings and also exile (all their own fault) so when they read and hear of a new King coming, a king who would lead His people with love and justice and peace, the anticipation would have been unbearable for some.
But they had to wait...and wait....and wait. Until, on that very special night, around 2000 years ago, a miracle occurred that would change history forever.
What is more amazing then a virgin birth though? seeing how the hand of God was working over so many different areas. The wise men from the east noticed a strange star in the sky, one they had probably never seen before, one they probably had no record of, but they knew, for some reason, that this star was important.
This star appeared from what I understand, at least two years before the son of God was born. Not just that, they knew that this star was connected to royalty, for as the walked into Jerusalem all they wanted to know was where the KING they were looking for was. After leaving Herod's presence they eventually come across the house where Joseph, Mary and the still newborn baby Jesus are staying, and they present this king...not of their nationality, gifts befitting for a King. This was a king for the rulers, the wise, the rich, the powerful, the upright and the foreigner. But that's not all.
Over in a field in Bethlehem, some shepherds were tending their sheep, not expecting too much, maybe except a predator looking for a midnight snack. All of a sudden, a bright light appears and there before the shepherds stands an angel of the Lord. He says to them; "I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people. Today your Saviour, the Lord Messiah, was born in the City of David. And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough" (Luke 2 verse 12 ISV).
If that hadn't knocked them off their feet no doubt seeing a multitude of the Heavenly Army praising God would have. So here we have one of the lowest, most underrated persons in that time period, a shepherd, receiving a special message about a king for all people. Not just that, this king would be lying in a feeding trough. God humbled himself before the humblest of peoples. This was a king for the lowly, the unwise, the poor, the weak, the downtrodden; this was a King for all.
So God bought it all together. The wise men, the virgin, the shepherds, the stable, the feeding trough, the angels, the star, the MESSIAH. It had been God's plan since the beginning of time but He bought it in in sensational fashion.
But that is God isn't it. Just like He never answers our prayers the way we expect, He doesn't bring himself, his Son into the world the way anyone would have expected with the players that ended up being involved.
This truly is a miracle, a magnificent place in history and a story we should never let become a side note in our Christian lives. This is Christ, this is His birth, this is the start of our redemption plan, this is Christmas.
Tim McDonald lives and works in Mackay Queensland with a family of four children and is the drummer in his church's youthful band.
Tim McDonald's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-mcdonald.html