To any who might read this today, Merry Christmas.
Of course today is not the actual birthday of Jesus but a convenient day that Constantine designated to celebrate Jesus' birth, replacing the pagan Saturnalia. If I remember right, the details of Matthew and Luke are usually taken to suggest a Spring birthdate I think. Don't remember the details.
The wise men would not have been involved with the birth, since they seem to arrive in Bethlehem as much as over a year after he was born. The current spot in Bethlehem is a cave like place, and I think the Protoevangelium of James has Jesus born in a cave as well, if I remember correctly (2 century).
But all this is trivia. What do I think was significant about Jesus' birth.
1. With Luke, it was a humble birth, an identification with the lowest common denominator of the world. For the last few years, the part of Jesus' birth that I have found most personally significant is the likelihood that his birth was viewed with dishonor by those around his mother. How completely fitting since he spent the better part of his earthly ministry bringing good news to the outcasts of Israel.
2. It was a royal birth, although the royal significance of it was not apparent to anyone there at the time (with the possible exception of the shepherds). This seems befitting in that Christ's kingdom on earth was not for this time, not yet. So at times it seems like the right is not ruling down here. But there is the promise of the kingdom that is to come and is already, in many respects, already here in the body of Christ, the church.
Today is a day of hope of the dawning of a new day. I pass on those wishes to you today.