was born. There was no room in the lodging place. The Child was laid, therefore, in a manger that was intended for the feeding of cattle.
But humble as were the surroundings of the newborn King, his birth was not without manifestations of glory. Luke 2:8–20. Shepherds, keeping watch in the fields by night, heard a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased." The shepherds went then to see the sign which had been made known to them. It was a strange sign indeed—Christ the Lord, the promised King, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger!
Luke 2:21–38; Matthew 2:1–12
Forty days after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary made the offering according to the Old Testament law, and presented the Child, as the first-born, to the Lord in the Temple at Jerusalem. Luke 2:21–38. Then they must have returned to Bethlehem, for it was at Bethlehem that gifts were presented by Wise Men from the East. Matt. 2:1–12. The Wise Men had been guided to Bethlehem partly by a wonderful star which they had first seen in their own country, and partly by questions which were answered by the scribes.
But the life of the infant Saviour was not all to be a hearing of angels' songs and a reception of gold and frankincense and myrrh. The Lord had come to suffer for the sins of the world, and the last great suffering on the cross was anticipated by the persecution which came in the early days. Matt. 2:13–18. The suspicions of Herod, the jealous king, had been aroused by the questions of the Wise Men. He sent to Bethlehem to put a possible rival out of the way. But it was too late. The king's rage was vented upon the innocent children of the little town, but God had cared for the infant Saviour. The Lord was finally to die for the sins of the world. But meanwhile many words of wisdom and grace were to fall from his lips; his hour was not yet come. Joseph was warned of God in a dream, and took the young Child and his mother away to Egypt, out of the way of harm, until Herod the Great was dead. Then they returned to Nazareth, where the Child was to spend long, quiet years of preparation for his work.