The story of Jesus’ birth has an immense progeny. Our planet fairly teems with stories and songs, paintings and drama that got their start from this story. The reproductive energies show no sign of tapering off. Writers and singers and artists, to say nothing of countless children and parents and grandparents all over the world, continue to find fresh and novel ways of keeping this story going. But even more impressive are the lives that continue to get a fresh start—a new birth—in the story of this birth.
Day after day, men and women who feel more dead than alive, in the hearing or singing or seeing of this story, rediscover the utter and unspeakable and beautiful preciousness of life. The story of Jesus’ birth gets reproduced in these human lives still, over and over and over again. The birth of Jesus is a birth with a message. It takes the entire Bible to bring the complete message, but this birth is the core of it: In Jesus, God is here to give us life, real life…
A SAVIOR FORETOLD
A Righteous Branch
“Time’s coming”—God’s Decree—
“when I’ll establish a truly righteous David-Branch,
A ruler who knows how to rule justly.
He’ll make sure of justice and keep people united.
In his time Judah will be secure again and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name they’ll give him:
A Child Will Be Born to Us
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
light! sunbursts of light!
You repopulated the nation, you expanded its joy.
Oh, they’re so glad in your presence! Festival joy!
The joy of a great celebration,
sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.
The abuse of oppressors and cruelty
of tyrants— all their whips and cudgels and curses—
Is gone, done away with, a deliverance
as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian.
The boots of all those invading troops,
along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood,