Lesson 27: "Hark, the Herald Angels"

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary.

The Creed’s second article tells you who our Lord is, and why he came to this world. This, the third article, tells you how he came.

He came in the same way as you, I, every one, because in all things (except only sin) he wished to share our lives: he was bom a baby of a human mother.

Yet he came in a different way. He had no human father.

He was bom by the power of God the Holy Ghost (“ghost” only means “spirit, a living person who has no human body”) coming to the Virgin Mary (St Luke i, 26 to 35). St. Joseph was not the father of Jesus: he was his guardian (St. Matthew 2, 14 and 21), and a kinder, more unselfish gentleman never lived. Our Lord in his boyhood honoured and obeyed him as his father (St. Luke 2,48 and 51); just as all nice Christian children honour their parents, and should always obey them (unless, of course, they tell them to sin).

This birth of Jesus is a miracle (“something to marvel and wonder at”), for no baby can be bom without both a father and a mother except by a miracle. It was a new thing in the world. Jesus was bom without original sin. He always was Perfect God; all through his human life, which began when the angel Gabriel talked to his mother on a March 25th, and which is still going on in heaven, he always was also Perfect Man. It was only by being without any sign or trace of sin that he could be the Saviour of all us imperfect and sinning people.

He was born poor, like so many Haggerston children, on December 25th, Christmas Day (“Christ’s Mass,” “Christ’s Feast”). In a stable Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes (St. Luke 2, 7) (“strips of linen,” often wrapped round babies by their mothers in those days), and laid him in a cattle-trough (“manger”).