It is a common saying at Christmastime that Jesus Christ was “born in a manger.” Of course, it wasn’t possible for Him to actually be born the manger, but that’s where Mary laid Him after His birth 7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.Although we are not sure of the exact location of where Jesus was born, we do know that it was near Bethlehem and that there was a manger, or feeding trough, there.God promised the Savior’s immediately after mankind’s first sin in the Garden of Eden (). Hundreds of years later, the prophet Micah foretold the birth of Christ in the small town of Bethlehem: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (). This prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus’ earthly parents, Mary and Joseph, were called to Bethlehem for a census of the entire Roman territory (). While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Jesus to be born ().Because of the crowds that had come to Bethlehem, there was no room at the inn for Mary and Joseph (). While tradition says that the inn was a sort of hotel, we don’t know that for sure. In fact, the Greek word translated “inn” () could be translated “guest room.” This fact has led some to believe that Jesus may not have been born in a stable or barn, but in a house with a lower floor serving as a nighttime shelter for the families’ animals.If that were the case, it wouldn’t be surprising to find a manger located in that area of the house. When Luke states that there was no room in the , he could mean there was no room on the upper level, which would have been full of other people sleeping.In any case, Jesus was born at night, in some sort of keeping-place for animals.
After He was delivered, Mary His mother wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him in a manger (). Later that same night, shepherds from nearby fields found Him just as the angels told them they would ().
10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”So, why was the Savior and King born in a place where animals were kept? And why was He then laid in the animals’ food trough?
Surely, God’s Son deserved a high-profile birth in the most elegant of surroundings. But, instead, God’s own Son made His appearance on earth in the lowliest of circumstances. This humble birth conveys an amazing message to creation: the transcendent God condescended to come to us. Instead of coming to earth as a pampered, privileged ruler, Jesus was born in meekness, as one of us. He is approachable, accessible, available—no palace gates bar the way to Him; no ring of guards prevents our approach. The King of kings came humbly, and His first bed was a manger.We assume that there were three wise men because of the three gifts that were given: gold, incense, and myrrh (). However, the Bible does not say there were only three wise men. There could have been many more. Tradition says that there were three and that their names were Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, but since the Bible does not say, we have no way of knowing whether the tradition is accurate.It is a common misconception that the wise men visited Jesus at the stable on the night of His birth. In fact, the wise men came days, months, or possibly even years later. That is why says the wise men visited and worshiped Jesus in a house, not at the stable. 7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
We know that the magi were wise men from “the East,” most likely Persia, or modern-day Iran. This means the wise men traveled 800 to 900 miles to see the Christ child. Most likely, the magi knew of the writings of the prophet Daniel, who in time past had been the chief of the court seers in Persia. includes a prophecy which gives a timeline for the birth of the Messiah. Also, the magi may have been aware of the prophecy of Balaam (who was from the town of Pethor on the Euphrates River near Persia) in . Balaam’s prophecy specifically mentions a “star coming out of Jacob.” The wise men were guided to look for the King of the Jews by a miraculous stellar event, the “Star of Bethlehem,” which they called “His star” (). They consulted with King Herod in Jerusalem concerning the birth of Christ and were directed to Bethlehem (). They followed God’s guidance joyfully (). Their gifts for Jesus were costly, and they worshiped Him. God warned them in a dream against returning to Herod, so, in defiance of the king, they left Judea by another route (). So, the magi were men who 1) read and believed God’s Word, 2) sought Jesus, 3) recognized the worth of Christ, 4) humbled themselves to worship Jesus, and5) obeyed God rather than man. They were truly wise men!