As you know I normally discuss only law and related topics on the Lawmen Group. Today I make an exception.
I thought I’d take a moment to acknowledge the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth (21 August 7 B.C.E.) and recite for you the inspiring gospel which he taught and lived throughout his 4+ year public ministry. I paraphrase from his matchless teachings the tenets of that gospel:
- Acceptance of the fact of the sovereignty of God
- Belief in the truth of the brotherhood of man
- Faith in the effectiveness of the supreme human desire to do God’s will, to become LIKE him.
I have yet to find a sincere truth seeker unable to embrace the above good news wholeheartedly. It encourages and uplifts all, inspiring us to go into life and tackle its problems and vicissitudes with gusto and joy. We know that by embracing our Sonship with God, as Jesus of Nazareth did, we shall sincerely pursue truth, beauty, and goodness. And, we shall express that pursuit through energetic demonstrations of love, mercy and ministry. We cannot help but to become ever more like God as we strive for personal perfection. Each of us who does so shall develop a majestic and well-balanced personality, allowing others to see God in us, and inspiring them to go and do likewise.
THAT constitutes the most wonderful gift anyone could give us, and the most wonderful gift we can give others.
I know that many who read this will chide me for not discussing eternal life, salvation, and such, as Jesus’ greatest gift to us. I don’t mean to minimize those lessons. I simply mean to say we live TODAY, this MINUTE, this INSTANT, not in the future. And we cannot possibly do any better RIGHT NOW than to show our Heavenly Father’s wise and loving nature to others, as his gospel inspires us to do.
I have only this exhortation for you at this moment of prayerful thought about Jesus’ gifts to us:
Go forth and DO IT. And take someone with you to help your neighbors and share this good news with them.
What? You want to know where I got that image of Jesus? I googled around and picked what I considered he most likely looked like. I picked this as a close second because Jesus spent a lot of time laughing and smiling.
Oh, you want to know why I wish Jesus Happy Birthday TODAY? Where I got the idea he experienced birth on 21 August 7 B.C.E.?
Okay, here’s your source. I encourage you to read the whole book. Over and Over.
Sections 8 and 9
122:8 THE BIRTH OF JESUS
122:8.1 All that night Mary was restless so that neither of them slept much. By the break of day the pangs of childbirth were well in evidence, and at noon, August 21, 7 B.C., with the help and kind ministrations of women fellow travelers, Mary was delivered of a male child. Jesus of Nazareth was born into the world, was wrapped in the clothes which Mary had brought along for such a possible contingency, and laid in a near-by manger.
122:8.2 In just the same manner as all babies before that day and since have come into the world, the promised child was born; and on the eighth day, according to the Jewish practice, he was circumcised and formally named Joshua (Jesus).
122:8.3 The next day after the birth of Jesus, Joseph made his enrollment. Meeting a man they had talked with two nights previously at Jericho, Joseph was taken by him to a well-to-do friend who had a room at the inn, and who said he would gladly exchange quarters with the Nazareth couple. That afternoon they moved up to the inn, where they lived for almost three weeks until they found lodgings in the home of a distant relative of Joseph.
122:8.4 The second day after the birth of Jesus, Mary sent word to Elizabeth that her child had come and received word in return inviting Joseph up to Jerusalem to talk over all their affairs with Zacharias. The following week Joseph went to Jerusalem to confer with Zacharias. Both Zacharias and Elizabeth had become possessed with the sincere conviction that Jesus was indeed to become the Jewish deliverer, the Messiah, and that their son John was to be his chief of aides, his right-hand man of destiny. And since Mary held these same ideas, it was not difficult to prevail upon Joseph to remain in Bethlehem, the City of David, so that Jesus might grow up to become the successor of David on the throne of all Israel. Accordingly, they remained in Bethlehem more than a year, Joseph meantime working some at his carpenter’s trade.
122:8.5 At the noontide birth of Jesus the seraphim of Urantia, assembled under their directors, did sing anthems of glory over the Bethlehem manger, but these utterances of praise were not heard by human ears. No shepherds nor any other mortal creatures came to pay homage to the babe of Bethlehem until the day of the arrival of certain priests from Ur, who were sent down from Jerusalem by Zacharias.
122:8.6 These priests from Mesopotamia had been told sometime before by a strange religious teacher of their country that he had had a dream in which he was informed that “the light of life” was about to appear on earth as a babe and among the Jews. And thither went these three teachers looking for this “light of life.” After many weeks of futile search in Jerusalem, they were about to return to Ur when Zacharias met them and disclosed his belief that Jesus was the object of their quest and sent them on to Bethlehem, where they found the babe and left their gifts with Mary, his earth mother. The babe was almost three weeks old at the time of their visit.
122:8.7 These wise men saw no star to guide them to Bethlehem. The beautiful legend of the star of Bethlehem originated in this way: Jesus was born August 21 at noon, 7 B.C. On May 29, 7 B.C., there occurred an extraordinary conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces. And it is a remarkable astronomic fact that similar conjunctions occurred on September 29 and December 5 of the same year. Upon the basis of these extraordinary but wholly natural events the well-meaning zealots of the succeeding generation constructed the appealing legend of the star of Bethlehem and the adoring Magi led thereby to the manger, where they beheld and worshiped the newborn babe. Oriental and near-Oriental minds delight in fairy stories, and they are continually spinning such beautiful myths about the lives of their religious leaders and political heroes. In the absence of printing, when most human knowledge was passed by word of mouth from one generation to another, it was very easy for myths to become traditions and for traditions eventually to become accepted as facts.
122:9.1 Moses had taught the Jews that every first-born son belonged to the Lord, and that, in lieu of his sacrifice as was the custom among the heathen nations, such a son might live provided his parents would redeem him by the payment of five shekels to any authorized priest. There was also a Mosaic ordinance which directed that a mother, after the passing of a certain period of time, should present herself (or have someone make the proper sacrifice for her) at the temple for purification. It was customary to perform both of these ceremonies at the same time. Accordingly, Joseph and Mary went up to the temple at Jerusalem in person to present Jesus to the priests and effect his redemption and also to make the proper sacrifice to insure Mary’s ceremonial purification from the alleged uncleanness of childbirth.
122:9.2 There lingered constantly about the courts of the temple two remarkable characters, Simeon a singer and Anna a poetess. Simeon was a Judean, but Anna was a Galilean. This couple were frequently in each other’s company, and both were intimates of the priest Zacharias, who had confided the secret of John and Jesus to them. Both Simeon and Anna longed for the coming of the Messiah, and their confidence in Zacharias led them to believe that Jesus was the expected deliverer of the Jewish people.
122:9.3 Zacharias knew the day Joseph and Mary were expected to appear at the temple with Jesus, and he had prearranged with Simeon and Anna to indicate, by the salute of his upraised hand, which one in the procession of first-born children was Jesus.
122:9.4 For this occasion Anna had written a poem which Simeon proceeded to sing, much to the astonishment of Joseph, Mary, and all who were assembled in the temple courts. And this was their hymn of the redemption of the first-born son:
- 122:9.5 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
For he has visited us and wrought redemption for his people;
He has raised up a horn of salvation for all of us
In the house of his servant David.
Even as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets—
Salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us;
To show mercy to our fathers, and remember his holy covenant—
The oath which he swore to Abraham our father,
To grant us that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies,
Should serve him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
Yes, and you, child of promise, shall be called the prophet of the Most High;
For you shall go before the face of the Lord to establish his kingdom;
To give knowledge of salvation to his people
In the remission of their sins.
Rejoice in the tender mercy of our God because the dayspring from on high has now visited us
To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death;
To guide our feet into ways of peace.
And now let your servant depart in peace, O Lord, according to your word,
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
Which you have prepared before the face of all peoples;
A light for even the unveiling of the gentiles
And the glory of your people Israel.
122:9.6 On the way back to Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary were silent—confused and overawed. Mary was much disturbed by the farewell salutation of Anna, the aged poetess, and Joseph was not in harmony with this premature effort to make Jesus out to be the expected Messiah of the Jewish people.