In December many people around the world see pictures or images of Jesus as a baby. He is in a manger, a large box where hay is kept for animals to eat. But should we remember Jesus only as a baby?—* Let us talk about a more important way to remember him. We can learn of it from what happened to a group of shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem one night.
An angel suddenly appears to the shepherds. He tells them: “There was born to you today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The angel also tells them that they will find Jesus “bound in cloth bands and lying in a manger.” Right away, many other angels appear and begin “praising God.”
How would you feel if you heard angels praising God?— The shepherds are happy! “Let us by all means go clear to Bethlehem,” they say, “and see this thing that has taken place.” There they find “Mary as well as Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.”
Soon others come to Bethlehem where Mary and Joseph are. When the shepherds tell them what happened, they all marvel. Are you happy to know these wonderful things?— All of us who love God are. Now let’s see why Jesus’ birth causes so much happiness. To do that, we need to go back to the time before Mary was married.
One day an angel named Gabriel visits Mary. He promises that she will have a baby who “will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.” “He will rule as king,” Gabriel says, “and there will be no end of his kingdom.”
Mary wants to know how this can happen, since she has never had relations with a man. So Gabriel explains to her: “Power of the Most High will overshadow you,” and “what is born will be called holy, God’s Son.” Taking God’s Son from heaven and putting his life inside Mary’s womb to grow into a baby—that was a great miracle!
Have you seen pictures or displays showing three “wise men” visiting the baby Jesus along with the shepherds?— At Christmastime such scenes are common. But they are not accurate. Those “wise men” were really astrologers, practicers of what God condemns. Let’s see what happened when they arrived. The Bible says: “When they went into the house they saw the young child with Mary its mother.” So Jesus by then was no longer a baby in a manger; he was a child living with Joseph and Mary in a house!
How did the astrologers find Jesus?— They were led by a “star,” not to Bethlehem, but first to King Herod in Jerusalem. The Bible says that Herod wanted to find Jesus to kill him. Now think about this. Who do you think made what appeared to be a star guide the astrologers to Herod?— It was not the true God, Jehovah, but his adversary, or enemy, Satan the Devil!
Today, Satan tries to make people think of Jesus only as a helpless baby. But the angel Gabriel told Mary: “He will rule as king . . . , and there will be no end of his kingdom.” Now Jesus is ruling as King in heaven, and he will soon destroy all of God’s enemies. That is what we should remember about Jesus, and we need to tell it to others.
Read in your Bible
If you are reading with a child, the dash provides a reminder to pause and encourage the child to express himself.