Daily Archive for December 20th, 2015

We are having a Baby!

December is here and it is that special time of the year when we are all eagerly waiting for the arrival of the special baby – Jesus.  Can you imagine how confused Mary might have been: she was definetely happy as she was about to become a mother; at the same time she probably was a bit worried as well.  She was unaware of the future and she was surely feeling very responsable for being chosen to become the mother of God!

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. We all now the story of how the angel Gabriel was sent to tell Mary that God had chosen her to become the mother of Jesus. Mary lived in her own little house in Nazareth in Galilee, possibly with her parents, and she accepted God’s wish in perfect humility and answered “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done unto me according to your word.” After a number of months, when Joseph was told of her conception in a dream by “an angel of the Lord”, he was surprised; but the angel told him not to be afraid and take Mary as his wife, Since the angel Gabriel had told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was miraculously pregnant, Mary hurried to see Elizabeth, who was living with her husband Zechariah. Mary arrived at the house and greeted Elizabeth who called Mary “the mother of my Lord”, and Mary spoke the words of praise to God.  After about three months, Mary returned to her own house.

Shortly afterwards, according to the Gospel of Saint Luke, a decree of the Roman Emperor Augustus required that Joseph returned to his home town of Bethlehem to be enrolled in the census. While he was there with Mary, she gave birth to Jesus; but because there was no place for them in the inn, she used a manger as a cradle. After eight days the baby was named “Jesus” which means “God saves” in accordance with the instructions that the angel had given to both Mary and Joseph.

The Miracle Birth

The census that was ordered by Caesar Augustus was the first of its kind. It was done because the Roman Government wanted to make sure that everyone in the Empire was paying their taxes correctly. The census was carried out all over the Empire. This meant that families had to register in their native town rather than in the town where they lived. This also meant that Joseph and Mary had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, as this was the town that Joseph’s family originally came from – a journey of about 112 kilometres.

The journey would have taken about three days and they arrived in the evening.  As many people had travelled to Bethlehem for the census, all the houses were full. So Joseph and Mary had to spend the night with the animals in a stable, cave or even a covered market stall.  It was the custom in those times to wrap a new born baby very tightly in long bandages called swaddling clothes. The arms and legs of the baby were also wrapped, so they couldn’t move. This was done because they thought it helped the baby to grow strong, straight limbs! And as no proper crib was available, the new baby boy was placed in a manger. This must have been an amazing scene, but was exactly how the angels had described things to the shepherds up on the hills surrounding Bethlehem!