The world-changing story of a baby's birth
By John Betts, chairman of Transforming Norwich
A baby's first cry rang out in the cool night air of a stable. The mother and her partner had travelled a long way to get there, only to find the town packed out with no accommodation available.
They were there because the Roman Emperor had decreed a census under which every person must return to the hometown of their family, creating hardship and difficulty for many including this couple.
Millions of babies have been born since and none has received such intensive attention. The media will give this birth a great deal of coverage once again this year. The story will be retold in countless school nativity plays through to major productions and a multitude of church services in every known language.
Who were this couple and why has their story become such an international and globally known one?
On the one hand, they were a very ordinary young Jewish couple caught up in national events, on the other hand, they were totally unique people whose story would change the world. Their child, born out of wedlock was, they were told, the Son of God, born to be the Saviour of the world!
They had struggled to understand what the angel had told them, but came to a place of peace and faith. Now, as their child lay in the cattle stall, some very excited shepherds came to visit. They told of having been visited by an angel and sung to by a heavenly choir and they had come to worship the child.
What do you make of this world-changing story? Billions of people since then have looked, listened and stayed to worship Christ the King. The Christ who was born on the first Christmas day transformed my life, my story. He is there for you too.