AT THIS TIME, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census of all his subjects should be taken. Because Joseph was of the house and family of David, he had to go to Bethlehem, the town of David in Judea, to register. Mary accompanied him on this journey from Nazareth in the north to Bethlehem in the south, a distance of about seventy-five miles.
Bethlehem was crowded and the holy pair could find no place to stay but a hillside cave. Here the Christ Child was born. Mary wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, a trough for feeding animals, which she had made ready.
There were shepherds in the district keeping the night watch over their flocks in the field. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared in their midst, illuminating the field with a heavenly brightness, and the shepherds became frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be to all the people; for there has been born to you today in the town of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Immediately a host of angels appeared and filled the air with their exultant song of praise, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth among men of good will.”
When the angels were gone, the shepherds said, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”
Hastening to the manger, they found the baby with His mother and Joseph. Seeing the holy trio, the shepherds under stood the message given them by the angel, and returning, glorified God in their praise of all that had been given them to see and hear. And everyone to whom they told the happenings of this night, marveled at the news. Our Lady kept in mind all these wonderful things, pondering them in her heart.
After eight days the Child was circumcised and received the name Jesus, as the angel had directed.
Meditation: God’s ways are not man’s ways. For the coming of the King of Kings we would have prepared a warm house, a comfortable bed, helpful servants, the best conveniences. God allowed Him to be born in a cave and to be Therein lies a lesson for us. How concerned should we be with the comforts of life, we may ask. If Christ, who could have had anything, chose this kind of birth, creature comforts cannot be so important as we usually consider them. How much value do I place on comfort and luxury in my own life?
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 7-8. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, MA following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM. NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.