The Cradle that Rocked the World
Who would have thought that a teenage mother named Mary and her humble carpenter husband, Joseph, would make international headlines! Poor people were a dime a dozen and having a baby in a barn or similar structure probably was not unheard of among the poor. If it made the news at all, it would have been sandwiched between the ads page and the sports at the bottom of the page with a two-line mention. Aside from the angels’ announcement, what caused this baby’s birth notice to rocket across the world and the ages?
Maybe it was because His birth was foretold ages before by prophets, such as Isaiah:
“…Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
“Wait,” the world says, “Stop right there! A virgin? That is physically impossible! Never has this happened.” “But, you see,” we reply, “from the beginning, God established the world on the ‘seed principal.’ ”
Then we explain how He said everything would produce after its kind; a fertilized seed would produce it own likeness. The virgin needed a fertilized seed to produce a child after the likeness of man, and she and her husband had not consummated their marriage.
This event would have required something supernatural to fulfill Isaiah’s prophesy.
And indeed it did! The seed of God with the seed of woman fulfilled Isaiah’s prophesy and brought forth His only begotten Son—to a virgin.
Mary and Joseph were engaged, which was legally equivalent to being married except they did not come together as husband and wife until after the actual wedding took place. While waiting for their wedding, Mary had an astonishing experience. An angel appeared to her and gave her a startling announcement; she would become pregnant before she “knew” her husband. We can only imagine the shock this was to a young lady who had never known a man intimately. The angel explained. He greeted Mary as “highly favored of God,” and told her that she would conceive when the Holy Ghost would come upon her. What an amazing young lady!
“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word…” (Luke 1:38).
Our omniscient God knew what He was doing. He knew who would able to carry out His plan to plant His Son on earth.
What a shock to Joseph! The girl he planned to marry was already pregnant. The thoughts that must have gone through his mind: “I thought I knew this girl well enough to make her my wife, and now she has been unfaithful before we even get married. I love her and don’t want her to be shamed or worse—stoned to death! I will very quietly divorce her under some pretense so we won’t be disgraced.” While Joseph made plans to legally separate from Mary, he had an unexpected visitor.
“But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:20).
What an incredible relief that must have been to Joseph, and what a tremendous responsibility he agreed to assume: husband to the mother of God and acting father to rear the child who was the Son of God. He accepted the angel’s explanation and took Mary as his wife, but did not know her intimately until after the miracle Baby was born.
“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:22, 23).
Now, can you see why this stable cradle rocked the world? From this cradle immerged the consummate plan of God—the Savior of the world was born! Under the protection and tutorship of Mary and Joseph, this Child—Jesus—grew to manhood, and with twelve assistants told the world that He came to redeem them and prepare a place for them in His Kingdom.
The world knows about “Christmas,” but does it know about the Christ for whom it was named? Department stores, newspapers and catalogs, even the internet will advertise their wares with the “holiday” theme; and people will spend their credit cards to the max to celebrate on December 25. Families will gather and have sumptuous meals together, unwrap gifts and go back to their own residences and resume their usual lives. Many will have just celebrated Someone’s birthday and will have given gifts to each other without inviting Him, the Honoree, to the party.
My birthday is December 24. I wonder how I would feel if my family and friends had my birthday party, brought gifts to exchange with each other, but did not invite me. I would think it strange, to say the least. I wonder how Jesus feels when we party all around the day we set aside for His birthday and take the day off, travel long distances, meet with family and friends and leave Him out of the arrangements.
It matters not that December 25 is most likely not the actual date of Jesus’ birth, as some like argue to avoid acknowledging the day; it is set aside to remember that Jesus descended from Heaven as an earth baby with the sole purpose of bringing redemption to residents of earth and make provisions for them to be with Him in His eternal Kingdom.
Thank God for the families and individuals who treat this special day as the Birthday of a King, our Lord and Redeemer! There never has been a birth like His and there never will be another. How special is that!!
Can we, as a “Christian nation,” return the holiday to its roots? Can we, as individual Christians, make our “holiday” plans around the Child in the stable cradle who grew up and taught us how to find our way to His Kingdom where some day we will celebrate with Him forever? Can we use this special day to let others know how special He is and how much He loves them and wants them to come to His Kingdom also? Can we? If He came back for us on that special day, would He find us celebrating Him?
May your Christmas be the best one you have ever had, because you will honor the One who was born to a virgin, died on a cross for the sins of the world, rose again to sit at His Father’s right hand and is planning to return for us so we can be with Him forever!
Have a blessed Christmas!
It is a celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ!