I was 17 years old the first and last time I smoked a cigar. My best friend’s mom was in labor and we slipped out of our high school football game to call and see if the baby had been born.
I can’t remember how, but we had secured two celebratory cigars and had vowed to smoke them if the baby was a boy. My friend was the oldest of four girls and the family was desperately praying for a boy.
Standing just inside the telephone booth, I heard the much-awaited news, “It’s a boy!” My friend and I jumped up and down and danced in the street. A baby boy who would change the whole family dynamic had been born.
I remember thinking that cigars smell a lot better than they taste and feeling a little “green” after the first few puffs. When we had sufficiently celebrated and kept our cigar vow, we went back to the football game to tell the world of the good news.
In today’s world, parents know months ahead if the coming child is a boy or girl. Medical technology allows the determination of the sex of the child, preparation for its arrival and gift buying with a specific theme in mind.
Some parents opt for enhanced digital imaging and can actually see a mature image of the baby before it is born. The good news is shared with family and friends months before it happens. We’ve come a long way from telephone booth inquiries and cigar smoking.
The Christmas story would not be complete without the glorious announcement to the shepherds of the birth of Jesus. In Luke 2: 8-20 (NLT) we find this account.
“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior — yes, the Messiah, the Lord — has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.’
“Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others — the armies of heaven — praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.’ When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’
“They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.
“After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.
“All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
“The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.”
While the whole Bethlehem community was rejoicing, the scripture said Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
For nine months Mary had stood on the prophetic word of an angel that she would conceive and give birth to a baby boy, who would be the long-awaited messiah.
She had no ultrasound to confirm the word she had received. She had no digital imaging to see his face. All Mary had was her faith and a word from God.
That night when Joseph told this young mother, “It’s a boy” I’m sure relief swept over her as the truth she had heard months before from an angel was validated.
That night Mary and her son began the 33-year journey that would culminate at Calvary’s cross.
The good news of that Bethlehem night “It’s a boy” still causes rejoicing and changed lives today. During this Christmas season, let’s declare the good news to all — “It’s a boy!” and he has come to save!