It was a time of anxiety, confusion, and mistrust. The people were oppressed and divided in their beliefs. Times were difficult because the powers that be were overtaxing them. It was a harsh life. Sound familiar? Their main industries were olive trees and goat herds. The firm faith in their God kept them strong. Most cultures had many gods – the Jewish people had only one great and powerful God. Their God had promised them a Savior. The prophet Isaiah foretold, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Immanuel means God with us. The Jewish people would pray for their Savior to come and lift the harsh burden of the Roman Empire and Kings of Judea. In order to live in such hard and crowded conditions the people had religious laws about everything. One of the traditions was a man would ask the head of the family for the hand of their young daughter. They would agree and she was promised to him. He would become her husband. Then, according to the law, the maiden would live with her family for one year. During that year she must remain chaste. But the Lord had a different path for Mary and Joseph. One day she was approached by God’s messenger, the angel Gabriel. The Lord chose Mary to bear his Son. Mary agreed to carry the child, but she did not understand how she could bear a child and still be a virgin. But it came to be as Gabriel had foretold her. Joseph felt betrayed, until Gabriel came to him and confirmed what Mary had told him. Joseph accepted Mary as his wife. But the trials were not over. Caesar Augustus issued a decree declaring everyone to go to their place of birth for a census. Joseph had to go to Bethlehem. Mary was heavy with child and the journey was four days. Riding on a donkey, she slept on the ground. By the time they reached Bethlehem she was in labor. The only shelter was a manger. Two inexperienced people in a manger brought Jesus into our world. After His birth, they were amazed at the visitors. Were Mary and Joseph stressed and confused about the many miraculous events? Yes, but with God, the impossible is made possible. It took a young couple with deep faith and courage to follow God’s commands and bring the gift of Jesus, the son of man, into the world. If you wish to understand more, it is all in the Bible. May the manger scene have more meaning to you than just a decoration, and may your Christmas be a blessed one.
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.