Most of my nativity sets are very inexpensive - except this one. This is my Hummel set. It took several years of buying pieces when I could afford them to get the complete set, over 20 pieces. I will say, Hummel had quite an imagination when it came to those who visited the newborn King. Several musicians came, and even the town baker sent his daughter with a basket of warm bread. Whimsical, I know, but it's beautiful just the same.
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to
Nazareth, a town in Galilee,
to a virgin pledged to be married to a man
named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's
name was Mary. Luke 1:26-27
Prophesy said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, the house of David, Israel’s greatest King.
Yes, Jesus was born in Bethlehem but he was raised in Nazareth, the home of his mother, Mary, and his earthly father, Joseph.
This is it, my first Christmas Why?
Surely there was a righteous young woman and a devoted man who lived in Bethlehem and would’ve been great parents for the Son of God.
Wouldn’t that have been so much more convenient? To have the parents living in Bethlehem already?
When the call for a census went out, the family would already be there. No travelling a long way on a donkey when the mother was nine months pregnant.
Room at the inn wouldn’t be an issue - Jesus would be born at home, attended by the 1st century version of a midwife. The family would huddle around and wait anxiously for the Baby’s first cry.
Much simpler for everyone involved.
Apparently not, not in God's plan!
Why Nazareth and not Bethlehem?
Bethlehem was respected and honored as David’s hometown; the King born and raised in the king’s home city. That sounds perfect to me! God’s Son would be respected and perhaps given more credibility.
Nazareth was looked down upon as a wild town. People who lived there were rebellious and didn’t think much of the Jewish law. They were uneducated, unpolished, and of questionable morality. Devout Jews, like Mary and Joseph’s families, were not very common.
Not an auspicious beginning for the Messiah.
Bethlehem was important, Nazareth was inconsequential.
God didn’t do what we might think is best. Remember, every detail was perfect in God’s plan for the birth and life of His Son.
Listen to the words of the prophet Isaiah:
He [Messiah] grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
A root out of dry ground.
He had no majesty.
Despised and rejected.
No one respected him.
Sounds like Nazareth!
Jesus Christ would live among men. God didn’t want his Son beginning his ministry with the honor and respect Bethlehem would afford him. He was to live the life of a common man, revealing God by complete obedience to his Father with every word and every deed.
We all live in “Nazareth,” a world that's wild, rebellious, and shows no respect for God’s laws. Because Jesus grew up in that world, he can stand before the Father, a High Priest that understands our struggles.
Praise God Jesus was born in Nazareth!
What comfort does it give you, knowing that Jesus lived in a place much like your world?