Who told the story today? (Joseph)
What news did the angel share with Joesph? (The angel said that Mary was going to have baby Jesus.)
What is so special about Jesus? (Jesus is God's son.)
Read: Luke 2:1-5
Israel was under the rule of Rome. The context of Jesus coming to earth at this time and place is important from the beginning. The biblical prophecy about the Messiah coming from Bethlehem came true because a guy named Caesar Augustus, a Roman emperor, decided he wanted an official census.
Micah 5:2, says “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity.”
The humility of this place was part of God’s plan for a Savior who would surprise the world by serving it, rather than ruling over it. This is a clear picture as it contrasts against the oppression of Roman rule. So, Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem.
Everyone of Joseph’s house and lineage, which Matthew lines up for us starting with Abraham in Matthew 1, would have been traveling to Bethlehem, too. Being in Bethlehem would have had to remind people of Joseph’s legitimacy to be the earthly father of the Messiah. He was from the house of David—the king God had chosen as a man after his own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Bethlehem was David’s city, too. God was making good on his promises to Abraham and to David, to bring the Savior from their families. God promised Abraham an heir that would be for everyone (Genesis 12:1-3). He promised David an heir that would rule a kingdom without end (Isaiah 9:7). All of this would come true in Bethlehem, with the birth of Jesus.
More than being trustworthy, by keeping his promises, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem shows us that God is also eternal. His plan for saving humanity began long before he put it into action. He foretold it because he knows the future. He plans for the future. He plans to give us a hope and future—and at Christmas we remember this all came true in Jesus.
What does it mean to you that God had a plan to send Jesus from the beginning?