GUEST COLUMN: The first Christmas —it changed the world we know
King David had descendants, too numerous to name.
One of them was Joseph, who would gain lasting fame.
Joseph was engaged to a woman named Mary.
God said to her one night, “My child, you shall carry.”
All that Joseph wanted was to do that which was right.
He considered leaving her, but God appeared to him one night.
The Lord said, “Please take Mary to be your lawful wife.
“Because she will bear my child who will save all with his life.”
The emperor Augustus ordered a census taken around.
Every man had to register by going to his hometown.
So Joseph and Mary left to go to Bethlehem.
By now she was expecting, so a donkey aided them.
When they got to the city, there was no room for strangers.
The only place for the baby to sleep was in a wooden manger.
So Jesus was born, wrapped in cloths, and laid in that humble place.
It was a small beginning for the savior of the human race.
While the shepherds of that country were in fields tending flocks,
An angel of the Lord came down and gave them quite a shock!
“Don’t be afraid,” The angel said. “I bring good news for you.
“On this day, your savior is born, so this is what you should do.”
“You will find the child in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes.”
And then a great army of angels suddenly arose.
The angels sang their praises to the savior born that day.
The shepherds got excited and left right away.
They found the baby as they were told and were quite amazed.
They went back to their fields, full of hope and praise.
Now Bethlehem was in Judea, where Herod ruled as king.
After Jesus was born, some wise men asked him things.
“Where is this baby born who will be king of the Jews?
“We have seen his star in the east, can you give us any news?”
When Herod learned of their wish to find and worship the child,
He became angry and disturbed and his evil thoughts ran wild.
He consulted with priests and the teachers of the law.
They studied all their writings and this is what they saw.
“From Bethlehem in Judea, a new leader will reveal
That he is the chosen king of the people of Israel.”
Herod sent for the wise men and learned about the star from them.
And when he found where it appeared, he sent them to Bethlehem.
Herod gave them these instructions, “Go see what you can do.
“Try and find this child so I may praise him, too.”
So the wise men left, they found the star, and followed it.
It led them to the house of Jesus, where they came to visit.
When they arrived at his house, they saw the child with Mary.
The wise men knelt and worshiped him and gave him gifts they carried.
Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were given from their hands.
Then the wise men left Jesus to return to their own lands.
But they did not go to Herod, God warned them that day.
In their dreams, he said, “Don’t go back!” So they returned another way.
That was the first Christmas, so long ago.
It changed the world we now know.
– David Sowards lives in Fort Wayne