By Marjorie Stewart / © ORTV.
One of the best-known, best-loved stories in the Western world is the Christmas story. Told and retold—in carols sung throughout the month of December, on cards sent to family and friends, through skits and dramas in churches all over the land—the story has never grown old.
It is the story of a teenage girl who was visited by an angel one day. It is the story of a more mature man, a humble carpenter, whose sleep one night was interrupted by an angel. It is the story of a group of shepherds, sitting on a Judean hillside, who were sung to by a choir of angels. But most importantly, it is the story of Jesus, God’s only Son, who left heaven to be born as a baby in this world of mortal men.
All this happened 2,000 years ago in the country of Israel. The Israelites at that time were under the rule of imperial Rome, but they believed God would send them a Messiah. God was faithful to His promise. The Messiah was His own Son, Jesus Christ. One day an angel, named Gabriel, came to Mary, a young virgin. She may have been cooking the noon meal for her family, or she may have been sleeping when he appeared to her. We do not know. But we do know that Mary became afraid when Gabriel greeted her.
He immediately reassured her that God was being very gracious to her. Out of all the women in Israel, she, Mary, had been chosen by God to bring into this world a baby who was Jesus, God’s own Son. When the angel explained that God’s Holy Spirit would perform this miracle through Mary, she accepted it as God’s will. “I am the Lord’s servant,” she said.
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