If you have heard the Christmas story from childhood, familiarity may blind you to what a supernatural event this really was. Angels appeared to ordinary people! A priest was struck dumb! A virgin birth! The Son of God was born in a stable and laid in a manger! Prophetic words were spoken out spontaneously with profound meaning. What did all these point to? One thing—the coming of the Son of God to earth was a big deal! The Christmas story was earth-changing spiritual news.
Think of it: the Creator taking on the form of one of His creatures and born as a baby! One would suppose such an event would be heralded by a flurry of supernatural activity as the eternal Son of God descended from the glories of heaven to earth. And that’s exactly what we discover in the Biblical record. The heavenly hosts surrounded our Savior’s birth, underscoring the fact this was a special God-ordained event.
Think of it: the Creator taking the form of one of His creatures and being born as a baby!
Angels appeared to men and women on six notable occasions, delivering prophetic words of knowledge and wisdom to those intimately involved. Ordinary shepherds, keeping watch over their flocks by night, were amazed as the heavens opened and a myriad of angels praised God. One of the angels told them exactly where to find their newborn King.
Later, when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus to the Lord in the temple, a devout man named Simeon came to them and took up the baby Jesus in his arms. He blessed God for allowing him to see the Lord’s Christ before he died. In the same moment, a godly 84-year-old woman named Anna came and gave thanks to God for the baby. Indeed, she spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. Then, after just 42 or 43 days, the family returned to their home in Nazareth. (Luke 2:39-40)
About two years later, when Jesus was no longer a baby but a “young Child,” wise men came from the East. After meeting with King Herod, who directed them to Bethlehem, they were somehow guided by a star to Nazareth and to the exact house where Jesus lived. (Notice, He wasn’t in a stable but in a house. Matthew 2:11) They worshiped the Savior and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Being divinely warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, the wise men departed for their own country another way.
Angels appeared to men and women on six notable occasions, delivering prophetic words of knowledge and wisdom to those intimately involved.
Immediately, Joseph was warned by an angel in a dream to take Mary and Jesus and flee into Egypt. Fortunately, he had the wealth of the wise men's gifts to sustain the family on their journey. There he stayed until the angel revealed it was safe to return. It's easy to see that in everything the circumstances of the Savior’s birth proved God was up to something unique and special.
Christ’s Birth Was Attended by Six Notable Angelic Visitations
- The priest Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was visited by the angel Gabriel while burning incense in the temple. The angel told him his barren wife Elizabeth would bear a son, who would become John the Baptist. John would be great like the prophet Elijah and prepare the way for the coming Lord. Luke 1:5-25
- Mary, the mother of Jesus, was then visited by Gabriel, who revealed she would miraculously conceive a Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. He would be called the Son of the Highest and sit on the throne of David forever. Luke 1:26-38
- Joseph, betrothed to the now pregnant Mary, was told by the angel not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, for the child in her womb was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He was to name him Jesus, for he would save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:18-25
- The angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night and told them their Savior, Christ the Lord, had just been born. They would find him in Bethlehem wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. They quickly went to Bethlehem and found Jesus, just like the angel told them. Luke 2:8-20
- After the visit of the wise men, an angel appeared to Joseph and warned him to take the young Child and His mother and flee into Egypt. Matthew 2:13-15
- After Herod died, an angel appeared to Joseph and told him it was safe to return to Israel. Being warned not to go back to Judea (i.e. Bethlehem), he continued to Nazareth. Matthew 2:19-23
Christ’s Birth Was Attended by Prophetic Words of Wisdom and Knowledge
Not only did angels appear, the Holy Spirit spoke prophetically through Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon, and Anna, giving them words of knowledge and wisdom that the one being born was indeed Christ the Lord, the long-awaited Hebrew Messiah.
God Predicted the Exact Details of Christ’s Birth Long Before It Happened
Several major Old Testament Scriptures were fulfilled by the birth of the Savior:
- Isaiah prophesied that a virgin would be with child. Matthew 1:23, Isaiah 7:14
- Micah prophesied the Christ would be born in Bethlehem. Matthew 1:4-6, Micah 5:2
- Jeremiah prophesied of the slaughter of the innocent children near Bethlehem, where Rachel was buried. Matthew 1:16-18, Jeremiah 31:15
- Hosea predicted God would call His Son out of Egypt. Matthew 1:15, Hosea 11:1
Through all these events and circumstances God testified that this was no normal birth, but the One born was indeed Christ the Lord!