Mon, 4 January 2010
According to the Targums, we know that the prophecy that a ''young woman'' or ''virgin'' would bear a son was translated by the Alexandrian scholars as meaning ''virgin,'' and that there was an implication that this was an unusual sign, as high as Heaven or as low as Sheol. A young woman having a son would not be such a significant sign.
The fact that the sign appears as a star to pagans tells us that God wants to give his message to those who are seeking Him out. The fact that the Christ comes from Bethlehem is a fulfillment of the prophecy of Micah that Bethlehem is 'not the least, for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people.' There is similarly a notion in John that the Christ must come from Bethlehem.
Mary was going into labor and so the Holy Family sought out any shelter they could. Finding a stable in which she could give birth, shortly thereafter they sought out family in Bethlehem and stayed in that house. This is where the Magi find Christ. This event surely must have come after the Presentation in the Temple, since it would have been difficult to journey to Egypt and back in secrecy within the short span of 40 days.
Like Pharaoh of old, Herod sought to kill the entire male population, and the similarities to Pharaoh are very strong. There is a prophecy about Rachel, who died looking to Bethlehem, and Jeremiah delivered a prophecy about a cry going up from Ramah, Rachel weeping for her children, which is fulfilled by Herod's slaughter of children in that same city. The prophecy that ''He shall be called a Nazarene'' seems to be a fulfillment of Isaiah 11:1, as there is a similarity between the root of the words ''branch'' and ''Nazareth.''
The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com