Witnesses to a Divine Birth

“In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock at night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.”

Luke 2:8-9 NASB

The Shepherds

The social status of a Jewish shepherd during the time of Christ was as low as you could get. They were despised like tax-collectors and dung-sweepers. Although sheep-herding began as a noble occupation with the Patriarchs, the Israelites slowly changed into farmers and agriculturists. This began when Joseph and his brothers were reunited in Egypt, and Pharaoh invited them to relocate in Goshen. Joseph plainly informed his brothers, “…for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians” (Genesis 46:34 NASB).

But God chose people of the lowliest profession to have the greatest honor of the ages–to witness a supernatural birth announcement from heaven in the night sky.

And so the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.‘”

Luke 2:10-12 NASB

Can you imagine the amazement of the shepherds when the angel was suddenly joined in the night sky with “a multitude of the heavenly army of angels praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:13b-14 NASB).

A multitude of angel armies lit up the sky, and their praises must have resounded for miles. Afterward, they retreated into heaven, leaving the night sky black, but their glorious presence and message spurred the shepherds to quickly run to Bethlehem.

When they found Mary and Joseph, they looked at the Christ child and told them what the angels had said about him. Everyone was amazed at their words, and Mary especially treasured and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

Luke 2:20 NASB

The Magi

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.

Matthew 2:1-2 NASB

The three magi from the east were polar opposites to the shepherds. As educated astronomers who studied sacred writings and served in royal courts, they understood the sign in the heavens. These wise men followed the star, which led them to the house where Messiah was found, bearing gifts to honor and worship the new king. They represented non-Jewish nations paying homage to the Lord of lords.

And after they came into the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary; and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

Matthew 2:11 NASB

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh

GOLD was not only a gift of great wealth, but it symbolized royalty, nobility, and great love. By bringing gold to lay at Jesus’s feet, they were acknowledging Him as King of the Jews. This provision supported Mary and Joseph when they fled to Egypt and later moved to Nazareth.

FRANKINCENSE was a valuable, fragrant ingredient for making holy incense to burn in the Temple. It was used for ceremonial worship and represented Christ’s divinity. The magi confirmed through this gift that Jesus was special–fully God and fully man.

MYRRH was an aromatic spice used for burial. It was also used to make a fragrant smoke, a rich perfume, and as medicine to treat wounds and skin inflammations. This gift represented Christ’s humanity and sacrificial death because He was sent from God to die for the sins of the world.

Come as you are to worship the King.

So the last shall be first, and the first, last.

Matthew 20:16 NASB

Is it any mistake that the shepherds were first in line to witness the miracle of Jesus’s birth? God chose the humble and lowly of this world to be first. In fact, Jesus bills Himself as the Good Shepherd in Psalm 23. Further, God tells us in Isaiah 66:2b, “But I will look to this one, at one who is humble and contrite in spirit, and who trembles at My word” (NASB).

Today we have a personal invitation from God to come witness the miraculous birth of the Christ child. Whether we have great wealth to lay at His feet or have nothing, we can come as we are. He is offering a beautiful gift for each of us–the free gift of salvation.

Will you accept His gift?

Dear Father, thank you for sending Your Son to be born on the earth. We bow before you in worship and lay our hearts before You. We receive Your free gift of salvation, and we praise You for it. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Witnesses to a Divine Birth by Karen Jurgens copyright 2022, All rights reserved.

The Manger-Throne

Star of Bethlehem

How does the manger in Bethlehem compare with God’s throne room in heaven?

According to the fourth chapter of Revelation, John glimpsed into heaven’s awesome arena of praise and worship where God Almighty sat on His throne, His appearance like a jasper stone and a sardius. Encircling the throne was a rainbow like an emerald, and around it twenty-four thrones, each with a seated elder clothed in white garments and wearing golden crowns.

Do you think heaven is a place of hushed quiet with angels floating on clouds, strumming harps? Contrary to what we may imagine, John reveals that it’s full of flashes of lightening and peals of thunder amidst seven burning lamps and a crystal sea.

Wow. A bit intimidating, but certainly communicating His holiness.

The most curious—dare I say scariest—sight of all were the four living creatures. Eyes all around and within, each having six wings and different in appearance: a lion, a calf, a face of a man, and a flying eagle. They never cease worshiping God, declaring, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come” (Revelation 4:8b, NASB).

John describes the climax of this worship. When the living creatures praise Him who lives forever, the elders will fall down, casting their crowns before Him who sits on the throne and worshiping, saying, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created” (Revelation 4:11, NASB).

Can this worship and praise compare to our Savior’s birth in Bethlehem?


Jesus, sent from heaven by His Father God to be born of the Virgin Mary, was wrapped in cloths and laid in a manger, according to the second chapter of Luke. She placed her baby in an animals’ feeding trough, packed with clean straw, which became His earthly throne. His entry into the world was to a humble dwelling, announced by a heavenly host to poor shepherds rather than to royalty. After all, doesn’t it make sense that this perfect Lamb, sent to be the final sin sacrifice, would be born in a cave where the animals dwelled? His kingdom has never been of this world.

Nearby shepherds, who had been watching their flocks at night, were the first to receive the birth announcement and a personal invitation to come and see the newborn King. An angel of the Lord had suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord had shone all around, causing them to be terribly frightened. The angel had told them not to fear, but that he was bringing them good news of great joy for all people; “…for today in the city of David, there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11, NASB).

angel blowthetrumpetinzion.info

Just as in heaven, a multitude of angels appeared, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14, NASB).


The sign the angel gave the shepherds was that they would find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. They hurried straight to Bethlehem, finding the Holy family exactly as they had been told. Surrounded by the animals, Mary and Joseph listened with amazement as the shepherds recounted their story of the angels’ rejoicing at His birth. Upon beholding the Child, they fell to their knees and worshiped the newborn king.

Christmas Nativity

But the story doesn’t stop there. The animals surrounding the manger-throne, the angelic host singing praises and rejoicing at Messiah’s birth, drawing shepherd-witnesses to the miraculous event—these preceded the arrival of the three magi. Just as the twenty-four crowned elders surround God’s throne in heaven, so these three kings traveled to worship at the manger-throne in Bethlehem.


How did they know about Christ’s miraculous birth? The second chapter of Matthew tells us that they saw His star in the east and followed it until it stood over the place where the Child was.

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him (Matthew 2:10-11a, NASB). Just as the elders cast their crowns before the throne of God, so these kings from the east bowed before Jesus, laying precious gifts at the foot of the manger: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The nativity

A little more than two thousand years ago on this night, Christ was born. Like the shepherds and the Magi, let’s bow before Him with praise and worship, laying at His feet our most precious possession: our hearts.

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