The birth of Jesus Christ was announced by two remarkable events: the coming of wise men from the East, and the appearance of angels to some shepherds at Bethlehem.
The wise men were probably astronomers; and in watching the stars they had seen one that had led them to leave their own country, and take a long journey to Jerusalem. Most likely they rode on camels, and their journey was a tedious one. But at last they reached Jerusalem, where they inquired saying, |Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the East and are come to worship Him.| Tidings of these inquiries were brought to King Herod, and when he heard them he was much troubled. He was a wicked king; and feared that if another king had been born, he would grow up and take the crown away. Herod was also cruel and treacherous, and while pretending to act rightly, often did many evil things. And now he intended to destroy the infant King, who might one day take his sceptre away.
So he first sent for the learned men of the Jews, the chief priests and scribes, and demanded of them where Christ should be born; and when they had replied that it was to be in Bethlehem, he secretly called the wise men before him, and inquired of them what time the star appeared. After getting the information he needed, he dismissed the wise men, bidding them to go to Bethlehem |and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found Him,| said Herod, |bring me word again, that I may come and worship Him also.|
So the wise men left King Herod and Jerusalem, and journeyed onward towards Bethlehem; and the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child lay. And when they saw the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy, for they knew they had found Him whom they had come so far to seek.
But the wise men did not bring Herod word where Jesus was; and he was so angry that shortly afterwards he sent his soldiers, and slew all the children under two years of age that were in Bethlehem and its neighbourhood. He thought by so doing to kill Jesus among them, but God prevented him from doing so.
[Illustration: THE WISE MEN BEFORE THE KING.]