In a twist on the traditional baby shower, gender-reveal parties are the newest trend in gathering friends and family before the birth of the baby. Portable ultrasound machines can be wheeled into the room. Cakes (with blue or pink inside) deliver the awaited news.
Mary had one of the most amazing gender-reveal moments of all time when the angel Gabriel told her that she would have a son (1:31)! That news was delivered to an audience of one; the birth announcement for Jesus, however, was delivered with celestial pageantry by the angelic hosts of heaven to the shepherds. The angels proclaimed the jubilant news of the Son of God’s arrival in Bethlehem, the royal city of David. This news was not a private celebration; the birth of Jesus was good news for the entire world.
In his book Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, Kenneth Bailey says Mary and Joseph most probably had family connections in Bethlehem, since that was where they were going to register for the census. Bailey describes the construction of a typical village home at that time, which sometimes included a guest room. With the guest room already occupied, the homeowners likely welcomed Mary and Joseph into the area of their home designated for sheltering animals at night. Under that roof, the newborn Son of God was laid in a manger.
Whatever the specific surroundings, Scripture makes clear that Jesus’ birth did not occur in a palace or regal setting. The Son of God, the promised King, had humble beginnings; the shepherds were unlikely prophetic bearers of the good tidings. Though they belonged to one of the lowest social classes, the shepherds were dignified by the news they received, and they responded with an outpouring of praise to God!