Traveling to Jerusalem and the Birth of Jesus, Luke 2
At that time Caesar of Rome ruled the world and he made a law that everybody in his empire would have to register so they could collect taxes from them. All the people in Europe and Greece and Syria and Israel had to sign up in whatever town their family came from.
The Jewish people kept tight records of births in their families through the centuries. They still do. Well, Joseph was a descendent of David, the former King of Israel, who came from the town of Bethlehem which was about 100 miles south of Nazareth and not too far from the big City of Jerusalem.
Mary was also a descendent of David who had lived ten hundred years before. That made the coming Baby a Child of the bloodline of David as was predicted by the prophet Isaiah seven hundred years before Mary lived.
So, Joseph had to pack up his pregnant wife and travel all that way to Bethlehem. It took days of hard walking. Most people think Mary must have ridden on a donkey.
By the time they got to Bethlehem the baby was ready to be born. With so many people having to report to other towns there wasn’t a hotel space anywhere for them to stay and they wound up in a cave like a barn where people kept animals. When the Baby was born that night Mary wrapped him up tight in clean cloths and put Him down on the soft hay in a cattle trough.
At that time a bunch of shepherds, guys who lived with the sheep day and night to protect them from wolves and mountain lions, dirty, ragged, rough fellows, were out in the hills.
Suddenly the sky burst open with brilliant light! A glowing Angel appeared above them and spoke, “Don’t be afraid. I’ve got wonderful news for you which will bring Great Joy to everyone in the world! Your Savior called the Messiah, the Anointed One of God which the world has been waiting for, was born this night and you can go and find the Baby sleeping on the hay in a feeding trough in Bethlehem!”
Suddenly the sky was filled with glorious bright angels singing, “Glory to God in the Highest! Peace on earth! God’s blessings to all people!”
Then the sky went dark again and the shepherds looked at each other amazed!
“Did you see what I saw?! Do you think there really is a Holy Baby in Bethlehem? We have to leave the sheep and find Him!”
They did. They headed for the town and when they found Mary and Joseph and the little baby just like the angels said, they made so much noise that people in the town woke up and the shepherds told them all about it before they went back to work with the sheep.
Mary sat there, quietly gazing at her precious little Baby, wondering about everything that had happened, and making memories in her heart.
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