Isaiah wrote of the Messiah's or Jesus' Mum and there were probably many young women who could have fulfilled that role, but God chose Mary. Micah had foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem but as Mary and Joseph were living in Nazareth (and the unborn baby was that Messiah), how to get them to Bethlehem? It just so happened that Emperor Augustus decreed that everyone had to be registered and for Joseph and Mary, that meant they had to travel 90 klm to Joseph's 'home' town of Bethlehem. No wonder Mary gave birth after travelling that distance, late in her pregnancy.
Hosea had previously stated that 'out of Egypt I have called my son' but why would Joseph and Mary go to Egypt when they had already travelled to Bethlehem and settled there? Easy. When Herod discovered that a new king had been born, all he was interested in was protecting his dynasty so any potential rival had to be eliminated. God warned Joseph in a dream to leave Bethlehem that night for Egypt where the family must remain till it was safe for them to return to Nazareth. All coincidences? Hardly.
However the prophecy which fascinates me is the one given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob 2000 years before Jesus was born. God had given them four special promises. Firstly, he would bless them and this was obvious from their lifestyle. Secondly he would make a great nation from them, that nation being the Jewish Nation. This and the third promise of their own land, was fulfilled after the time of Moses when the Israelites conquered the land of Canaan and settled there. The fourth promise was that through the descendants of Abraham everyone would be blessed.
Abraham had one son Isaac who had two sons, Esau and Jacob. Jacob who was the one God chose to receive these promises, had twelve sons and when he blessed his son Judah, he promised that 'the septre shall not depart from Judah' ( Geneses 49:10), meaning that a royal line would come from the tribe of Judah. This royal line would be the means of the fulfilment of the fourth promise. The famous King David came from the tribe of Judah as did the subsequent kings of Judah, but a much more famous King, a Messiah, would be born from this tribe.
Following the rise and fall of the tribe of Judah makes for interesting reading - it's all there in 'Bible Stories For Big Kids'. Israel, representing ten of the Jewish tribes, was wiped out due to apostasy and although Judah was not much better, this tribe had to remain somewhat intact so as to fulfil God's promise of a Messiah who could trace his lineage back to Judah. Consequently, Judah was exiled by the conquering Babylonians but seventy years later, a remnant was allowed to return to Jerusalem.
And so Judah survived to live another day and produce the now longed for Messiah, Jesus Christ whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas. It took 2000 years but God kept his promise that through Abraham's line, everyone would be blessed - Jews as well as non Jews.
A fascinating story!