The people had been waiting a long time for deliverance. Alien armies roamed their land, and spiritual leaders looked after their own welfare rather than that of the people. In such circumstances, despite their tradition-cluttered religion, the people waited for Him of whom the prophets spoke, at whose advent and under whose benign and righteous rule they expected their problems to disappear.

In a stable one wintry night, this Child of destiny was born. Angels proclaimed the good news. Shepherds left their flocks and came to see him. Men in far countries who studied the heavens saw a new star, harbinger of a King. Loading their camels and trekking across the weary miles of desert to do him homage, they arrived one day at Herod’s gate and inquired, “Where is He … born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship Him.” Later they placed gifts at his feet—perfumes from Edom, myrrh from the forest, pearls from the sea, gold from the mine.

Shadows surrounded this promised Messiah even in childhood, and before long his parents were forced to flee their homeland to save him from evil men. After his return to Nazareth he toiled unrecognized and unknown at the carpenter’s bench, shaping timbers to the needs of men; each day he partook of the experiences of the race he had come to save. During those years, pious souls no doubt often recalled the events at Bethlehem and asked, “Where is He … born King of the Jews?”

One day a humble prophet came out of the wilderness proclaiming: “Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” Thousands longing for deliverance from religious bondage and political tyranny flocked to hear him. Being a Jew is not sufficient, warned John the Baptist. Entrance into the ...

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