birth certificateHow exciting is the birth of a new baby! The thrilled parents eagerly make phone calls to friends and relatives letting them know of the wonder of a new child entering the family. Surely there is no prouder time in the life of a newly married couple than the birth of their first child.

So we would expect that God’s announcement of the birth of His Son would be grand indeed. Yet how did this great announcement of the birth of the Savior begin? Not with great fanfare and ceremony, nor with the inspired proclamations of a prophet or the songs of a psalmist. No, this announcement began rather with the visit of an angel to a young Israelite girl in the city of Nazareth.

Imagine the surprise of this young lady as the glad tidings were brought to her. Surely the angel must be mistaken! How could a poor, young girl like her be the recipient of this grand and glorious promise that had been so anticipated for thousands of years? How could she, a virgin, be the one to bring forth the most anticipated Man in history? And how could she explain all this to Joseph? Yet she was indeed the woman whom God considered worthy of this honor, and she rose to the occasion, humbly declaring in Luke 1:38, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”

From this worthy young lady the word spread to her godly aunt and uncle. Upon learning of the upcoming birth, she fled to their home, knowing that being under their roof when the baby was conceived might shield her from the accusation of playing the harlot by having a baby out of wedlock. She must have anticipated the difficulty of telling them of her plight, so her surprise must have been great when her aunt knew the truth immediately when she walked in the door, proclaiming, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” Luke 1:42.

Joseph had no such foreknowledge, and was ready to reject her as having been unfaithful to him. But God let him in on the secret when an angel visited him as well, assuring him by saying, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for That Which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:20.

So these four were the only ones who knew what was truly happening when the great day arrived. Yet how quickly the numbers grew! Soon wise men and shepherds knew the wondrous truth. Disciples and followers came one by one to learn of this miraculous birth. Word spread throughout Israel, and from there throughout the world. And now, two thousand years later, one could hardly find a country or a language in the world where the wondrous truth of this greatest of all births has not been proclaimed.

As we gather with family and friends to celebrate this holiday season, let us not forget the news that angels and wise men, shepherds and kings rejoiced to hear. Let us celebrate His extraordinary birth with gladness, and rejoice that now and for all time “God is with us.”