In this season rich with tradition, we would like to continue one of our own -- presenting to our readers the Christmas story.
It was the greatest story ever told, but one that would likely be buried on the back page if it happened today.
The story tells of a young couple forced to take a long journey to pay their taxes, unexcused even though the wife was very pregnant and traveling such a distance would surely be a hardship for her. When the time came for her to deliver her child, all the hotel rooms were full, so the man and his wife were forced to take refuge in a stable where horses, sheep and cattle were kept. When the baby was born, he was wrapped in some scrapes of cloth and laid in a make-shift bassinet, the manger where the animals fed.
From those humble beginnings, as we all know, sprang the most remarkable life in history, one which would have a greater impact on the world than any before or since.
Failing to find words which can tell the story more effectively or eloquently than its first authors, we offer to you the Christmas story.
About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was the governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's hometown, for the census. As a descendant of David he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancee, who was pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped Him in a blanket and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the hostel.
There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises: "Glory to God in the heavenly heights; Peace to all men and women on earth who please Him."
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the shepherds talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the shepherds were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The shepherds returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east] and have come to worship him."
From all of us at The Ledger Independent to all of you, we wish you a very merry Christmas.