Chapter 1 —Beginnings

Christ, the heavenly merchantman seeking goodly 

pearls, saw in lost humanity the pearl of price. In man, defiled and ruined by sin, He saw the possibilities of redemption. 1 {CSA 4.1} 

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: 

When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, 

before they came together, she was found with child 

of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being 

a just man, and not willing to make her a public 

example, was minded to put her away privily. 

But while he thought on these things, behold, 

the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in 

a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, 

fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that 

which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt 

call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people 

from their sins. {CSA 4.2}


Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled 

which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, 

saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and 

shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 

Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as 

the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took 

unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had

 brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his 

name JESUS. Matthew 1:18-25. {CSA 4.3}


And there were in the same country shepherds

 abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock 

by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came 

upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone 

round about them: and they were sore afraid. 

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, 

behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, 

which shall be to all people. For unto you is born 

this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is 

Christ The Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; 

Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 

lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with 

the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising 

God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and 

on earth peace, good will toward men. 

{CSA 4.4}


And it came to pass, as the angels were gone 

away from them into heaven, the shepherds 

said one to another, Let us now go even unto 

Bethlehem, and see  this thing which is 

come to pass, which the Lord hath made known 

unto us. And they came with haste, and found

 Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in 

a manger. And when they had seen it, they 

made known abroad the 


saying which was told them concerning this

 child. And all they that heard it wondered at 

those things which were told them by the 

shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and 

pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds 

returned, glorifying and praising God for all 

the things that they had heard and seen, as it 

was told unto them. 

Luke 2:8-20. {CSA 4.5} 

The Saviour’s coming was foretold in Eden. 

When Adam and Eve first heard the promise, they 

looked for its speedy fulfillment. They joyfully 

welcomed their first-born son, hoping that he 

might be the Deliverer. But the fulfillment of the 

promise tarried. Those who first received it died 

without the sight. From the days of Enoch 

the promise was repeated through patriarchs 

and prophets, keeping alive the hope of His 

appearing, and yet He came not. The prophecy 

of Daniel revealed the time of His advent, but 

not all rightly interpreted the message. Century 

after century passed away; the voices of 

the prophets ceased. The hand of the oppressor 

was heavy upon Israel, and many were ready 

to exclaim, “The days are prolonged, and 

every vision faileth.” 

Ezekiel 12:22. {CSA 5.1} 

But like the stars in the vast circuit of their 

appointed path, God’s purposes know no haste 

and no delay. Through the symbols of the great 

darkness and the smoking furnace, God had 

revealed to Abraham the bondage of Israel in 

Egypt, and had declared that the time of their 

sojourning should be four hundred years. 

“Afterward,” He said, “shall they come out 

with great substance.” Genesis 15:14. Against 

that word, all the power of Pharaoh’s proud 

empire battled in vain. On “the self-same day” 

appointed in the divine promise, “it came to pass, 

that all the hosts of the Lord went out from 

the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:41. So in heaven’s 

council the hour for the coming of Christ 

had been determined. When the great clock 

of time pointed to that hour, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. 

 {CSA 5.2}


The King of glory stooped low to take humanity. 

Rude and forbidding were His earthly surroundings. 

His glory was veiled, that the majesty of His 

outward form might not become an object of

 attraction. He shunned all outward display. 

Riches, worldly honor, and human greatness can 

never save a soul from death; Jesus purposed 

that no attraction of an earthly nature should call

 men to His side. Only the beauty of heavenly 

truth must draw those who would follow Him. 

The character of the Messiah had long been 

foretold in prophecy, and He desired men to 

accept Him upon the testimony of 

The Word of God. 

{CSA 5.3}


The angels had wondered at the glorious 

plan of redemption. They watched to see how 

the people of God would receive His Son, 

clothed in the garb of humanity. 

 {CSA 5.4} 

Angels attend Joseph and Mary as they journey 

from their home in Nazareth to the city of David. 

The decree of imperial Rome for the enrollment 

of the peoples of her vast dominion has extended 

to the dwellers among the hills of Galilee. As in 

old time Cyrus was called to the throne of 

the world’s empire that he might set free the 

captives of the Lord, so Caesar Augustus is 

made the agent for the fulfillment of God’s 

purpose in bringing the mother of Jesus to 

Bethlehem. She is of the lineage of David, and 

the Son of David must be born in David’s city. 

Out of Bethlehem, said the prophet, “shall He 

come forth . . . that is to be ruler in Israel; 

whose goings forth have been from of old, 

from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2, margin. 

But in the city of their royal line, Joseph and 

Mary are unrecognized and unhonored. Weary 

and homeless, they traverse the entire length 

of the narrow street, from the gate of the city 

to the eastern extremity of the town, vainly 

seeking a resting place for the night. There is 

no room for them at the crowded inn. In a 

rude building where the beasts are sheltered, 

they at last find refuge, and here the 

Redeemer of the world is born.  

 {CSA 5.5} 


Above the hills of Bethlehem are gathered an 

innumerable throng of angels. They wait the 

signal to declare the glad news to the world. 

Had the leaders in Israel been true to their trust, 

they might have shared the joy of heralding 

the birth of Jesus. But now they are passed by.  

 {CSA 6.1} 

In the fields where the boy David had led 

his flock, shepherds were still keeping watch 

by night. Through the silent hours they talked 

together of the promised Saviour, and prayed 

for the coming of the King to David’s throne. 

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, 

and the glory of the Lord shone round about 

them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel 

said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring 

you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to 

all people. For unto you is born this day in 

the city of David a Saviour, which is 

Christ the Lord.”

{CSA 6.2} 

At these words, visions of glory fill the minds 

of the listening shepherds. The Deliverer has 

come to Israel! Power, exaltation, triumph, are associated with His coming. But the angel must 

prepare them to recognize their Saviour in

 poverty and humiliation. “This shall be a sign 

unto you,” he says; “Ye shall find the babe

 wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

”{CSA 6.3}

The heavenly messenger had quieted their fears.

 He had told them how to find Jesus. With tender 

regard for their human weakness, he had given 

them time to become accustomed to the divine 

radiance. Then the joy and glory could no 

longer be hidden. The whole plain was 

lighted up with the bright shining of 

the hosts of God. Earth was hushed, and 

heaven stooped to listen to the song,—

“Glory to God in the highest, 

And on earth peace, good will toward men.” 

  {CSA 6.4} 

As the angels disappeared, the light faded away, 

and the shadows of night once more fell on 

the hills of Bethlehem. But the brightest picture

 ever beheld by human eyes remained in the 

memory of the shepherds. “And it came to pass, 

as the angels were gone away from them into

 heaven, the shepherds said one to another,

 Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see 

this thing which is come to pass, which The Lord

 hath made known unto us. And they came 

with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and 

the babe lying in a manger.” 

 {CSA 6.5} 

Heaven and earth are no wider apart today 

than when shepherds listened to the angels’

 song. Humanity is still as much the object 

of heaven’s solicitude as when common men 

of common occupations met angels at noonday, 

and talked with the heavenly messengers 

in the vineyards and the fields. To us in 

the common walks of life, heaven may be 

very near. Angels from the courts above will 

attend the steps of those who come and go 

at God’s command. 

{CSA 6.6}


The story of Bethlehem is an exhaust-less theme. 

In it is hidden “the depth of the riches both of 

the wisdom and knowledge of God.” 

Romans 11:33. We marvel at the Saviour’s 

sacrifice in exchanging the throne of heaven 

for the manger, and the companionship of 

adoring angels for the beasts of the stall. 

Human pride and self-sufficiency stand 

rebuked in His presence. Yet this was but 

the beginning of His wonderful condescension. 

It would have been an almost infinite humiliation

 for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even

 when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. 

But Jesus accepted humanity when the race 

had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. 

Like every child of Adam He accepted the results 

of the working of the great law of heredity. 

What these results were is shown in the history 

of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a 

heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, 

and to give us the example of a sinless life.  

 {CSA 6.7}