Have you ever watched the stars on a clear night? There seems to be so many of them! You may have seen a bright streak of light suddenly shoot across the sky. That is called a falling star. Sometimes you will see many of them in a short time if you really look for them.
One clear night, almost two thousand years ago, some shepherds were tending their sheep on a hillside near the town of Bethlehem in Palestine. As they looked at the stars above them, suddenly a bright light shone all around them. The night became as light as day. The shepherds were afraid and covered their eyes with their hands.
Then they heard a kind voice speaking, “Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10). They uncovered their eyes and saw a bright angel standing beside them. The light coming from the angel lit up the whole countryside. The angel continued, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11)
The shepherds were excited, for they had just been talking together about the promised Savior. Besides, the “City of David” was Bethlehem, and they could see it just a short distance away.
Then the angel told the shepherds how to find the baby. “And this will be a sign to you. You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12) A manger is where hay and grain are put for animals to eat, so the shepherds knew that they should look for the baby in a barn or stable.
Suddenly the whole sky was filled with bright, shining angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (Luke 2:14). Finally the angels began to disappear, the light grew dimmer and dimmer, the glorious song faded away, and all was still.
The shepherds began talking excitedly, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass” (Luke 2:15). They chose someone to watch the sheep while they were gone, then they hurried down the road toward Bethlehem. There, behind an inn, they found a stable and Baby Jesus lying in a manger, just as the angel had said. As Joseph and Mary watched, the shepherds bowed down, worshiping the Baby and thanking God for sending a Savior.
As they returned to their sheep, the shepherds happily told everyone they met about the visit of the singing angels and about the tiny Savior they had found.
Far away in another country lived some very wise men who were advisers to their king. They studied many books, including the Holy Scriptures, and they had discovered that it was about time on God’s clock for a Savior to come to earth. One night when they were studying the stars, they were surprised to see a new star brighter than any they had ever seen before. It reminded them of something they had read in the Bible: “A star shall come out of Jacob. A scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17). A scepter is a special rod carried by a king as a sign of authority. The wise men believed the new star was a sign that a king was born.
“Let us follow where the star leads,” said one of the wise men, “and find this new King.” Quickly they gathered some presents: gold, frankincense, and myrrh, to take to the Baby, and started riding their camels across the desert. They traveled at night, so they could see the star, and rested in the daytime.
Early one morning, the star stopped over the city of Jerusalem, then slowly faded away. The wise men hurried into the city asking everyone, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star and have come to worship Him” (Matthew 2:2). No one could help them. They hunted and hunted but could not find the Baby.
King Herod heard about the wise men and called the chief priests and teachers to find out where Christ would be born. They told him that the prophecies named Bethlehem as the place. He called the wise men secretly and told them to go to Bethlehem, find the Baby, and then come back and tell him where He was so he could go worship Him also. But he really wanted to get rid of the Baby because he was afraid Jesus would take over his kingdom.
The wise men left for Bethlehem that very night and the star appeared again and led them. It finally stopped over a house in Bethlehem where they found what they had been looking for. They brought in their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They knelt to worship the Baby and praised God for guiding them to the Baby King.
That night God warned them in a dream not to tell King Herod where Jesus was, so they went home another way.
Would you like to read the story about the angels who sang? Turn to the book of Luke, the second chapter. There you will find the whole story, beginning with the eighth verse.(Luke 2:8-20)
The story of the wise men is found in the book written by Matthew. It is the second chapter, verses 1 to 11. (Matthew 2:1-11) Toward the end of the Old Testament, the first part of your Bible, is a small book called Micah. Micah wrote what the angel told him about the place where Jesus would be born. (Micah 5:2)
The Treasure Chest Verse is the song the angels sang:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” Luke 2:14