When Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she will bear a son who will be called Jesus, she is surprised and meekly replies that she is already pledged marriage to Joseph and confused over the situation because she is a virgin. Gabriel answers, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ and to help Mary accept the message, Gabriel adds “Look, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age and she is on her sixth month, the so called barren woman.
‘Don’t be afraid Mary, God has been gracious to you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the most High God. The Lord God will make him a king as his ancestor David was’ - Luke 1, 30 - 33.
After the angel left, Mary hurried to see Elizabeth in a hill country in Judea and greeted Elizabeth and the baby within her moved at Mary’s voice. Elizabeth too was filled with the Holy Spirit and said in a loud voice ‘You are the blessed of all women and blessed is the child you bear. Why should this great thing happen to me that my Lord’s mother comes to visit me’
It was time for her to have the baby while they were in Bethlehem. There she gave birth to Jesus and wrapped him in cloth and laid him in a manager as no room was available at the Inn
Mary stayed about three months with Elizabeth and left for home. There was a law at the time that required a census to be taken throughout Rome which made Joseph leave the town of Nazareth to Galilee in the town of Bethlehem in Judea which was the birthplace of King David. Joseph had to go there because he was a descendent of David and took Mary along with him. It was time for her to have the baby while they were in Bethlehem. There she gave birth to Jesus and wrapped him in cloth and laid him in a manger as no room was available at the Inn. That did not worry Mary or Joseph as they looked lovingly at the coming of the Messiah sleeping peacefully surrounded by sheep, cattle and mules in their resting place.
Elsewhere in some part of the country some shepherds were watching over their flock in the open by night. Suddenly an angel appeared to them and the glory of God was with them but the shepherds were terrified. The angel announced ‘don’t be a afraid I am here with good news for you which will bring great joy to you. You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger. This very day in David’s Town your Saviour, the son of God is born, Then, there appeared great army of heaven’s angels singing praises of God.
It was God’s wish that Ceaser Augustus made the registration law so that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, the hometown of the ancestors of King David. The Scriptures had said before where the promised Ruler would be born.
According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is presented as both the promised Saviour of Israel and as the Saviour of all people. He further preached that Jesus called by the Holy Spirit of the Lord and filled with compassion for people with all kind of needs. He announced the coming of Jesus.
Luke further preached that Jesus called by the Holy Spirit of the Lord and filled with compassion for people with all kind of needs. He announced the coming of Jesus
Joseph and Mary decided to remain in Bethlehem rather than return to Nazereth. The God’ Law to Israel commands when a boy is eight days old, he has to be circumcised and a name given on that day. They named their child Jesus as angel Gabriel had said.
Now a month had passed and Jesus is 40 days old. Mary and Joseph take him to the Temple in Jerusalem which is few miles away for her purification because the law commands that a mother is required to present a purification offering to the temple.
It means when Israelite women gives birth, they are ceremonially considered unclean for some time. A burnt offering as a cleansing sacrifice must offered. It reminds that imperfect sinful life has been passed. The infant Jesus was perfect and holy when he was brought to the temple as required by the Law for purification. Mary does so and as her offering she brings two small birds. This reveals to us their economic situation. According to The Law, a young ram or a bird should be offered but if the mother cannot afford a ram, two doves or two pigeons would suffice. That was Mary’s plight and what she offered.
While at the Temple, Simeon approach as God has revealed to him that before he dies he will see the Messiah. On this day, he was directed to the temple where he finds Joseph and Mary with their sacred son. Simeon takes the baby in his arms and thank God saying ‘Now Sovereign Lord, you are letting your slave go in peace according to your declaration.’
Mary and Joseph were amazed at what they heard and saw especially as Anna the 84-year-old prophetess begins to thank God for letting her see Jesus. Everyone at the temple were shocked as the miracle before their eyes, were unfolding.
The star they had seen and followed in the East, travelled ahead of them. Clearly it was no ordinary star but specially provided for them to be directed avoiding Herod
Some astrologers from the East in search of baby Jesus while reading astrology in the stars and were able to identify events surrounding people. They saw a special star, brighter than usual and followed it not to Bethlehem but to Jerusalem. When they reached this city, they asked ‘Where is the one born King of Jews’ We saw his star when we were in the East and we have come to do obeisance to him ‘
King Herod of Jerusalem heard about it and was very upset. He consulted the leaders and asked them where Jesus was. He had the astrologers secretly brought to him and they answered in Bethlehem. After the astrologers leave, an amazing event occurred.
The star they had seen and followed in the East, travelled ahead of them. Clearly it was no ordinary star but specially provided for them to be directed avoiding Herod. They had tricked Herod at his own game of trying to find the baby and kill him but Herod ordered all baby boys under two years be put to death.
Fr. Leopold Ratnasekera OMI