EITHER “On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me......” OR “Unto you is born ....this (first) day (of Christmas) ....”
EITHER “....a partridge in a pear tree.” OR “....a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.”
In the song “The twelve days of Christmas” the giver is “my true love”. The giver in the case of the message to the Bethlehem shepherds (see bold above) was not disclosed. But ... the “multitude of the heavenly host” sang “Glory to God in the highest...”
All this over a baby boy - but admittedly any baby boy is somewhat more important that a partridge.
This baby boy that was born “unto you” (unto the malodorous illiterate shepherds) on that day of days in what has become AD 0 was given a threefold description by angels –
1. Saviour (Greek, soter = saviour and deliverer and preserver)
2. Christ (Greek, Christos = anointed, the Hebrew (Jewish) equivalent being “Messiah”)
3. Lord (Greek, kurios =LORD, the word used in all of the national archives of the nation of Israel as a substitute for “YHWH”, the God of Israel, (wherever those letters appeared in the originals) because those letters being the name of the Almighty, were too holy, too great to be written down or spoken)
The boy born “this day” is identified by those three words: “Unto you is born this day a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.” Yes, “Unto you...”
There’s not much else that’s attractive about this birth.
· It’s a birth on an ominous tax date – Caesar Augustus in Rome wanted a list of all his subjects that day – for taxation purposes.
· It’s a birth amongst domestic animals, cattle.
· It’s a birth straight after a donkey journey of 50 miles by the pregnant mum.
· It’s a birth where the mum was incorrectly judged to have had shameful pre-marital intercourse – and that not with her betrothed.
· It’s a birth into a poor family.
· It’s a birth where the only available cradle is a cattle feeding trough.
· It’s a birth in a tiny village named Bethlehem in the Roman-occupied province of Judah. An “occupation birth” in Jersey terms.
Only a few studious people at the time were aware of an entry in the Israeli national archives around 400 years earlier, written by Micah, that stated, “And you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.”
The puppet King, King Herod the Great, in his palace in Jerusalem in Judah AD 0, found out about Bethlehem from these studious people. He then had murdered all the babies in that region in case this baby might be the Messiah and upset his throne.
And those same studious people who made Bethlehem known to Herod as the place of birth of the promised Messiah were also aware of another entry in the national archives of Israel written by Isaiah 700 years earlier. It was the recorded instructions from the LORD (YHWH) to Isaiah,
· “Go, and say to this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive’.
· Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and turn and be healed.”
Is Herod the subject of a far higher authority? So, Herod, a decision please --“Unto you is born a Saviour...” Yes or No? Herod’s answer: not unto me; no way; twelve drummers drumming for me.
“Unto you...”? “A Saviour, Christ the LORD”? Your choice. 12 days.