Let’s begin by reading Luke 2:7, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”  This, of course, is speaking of the birth of the Lord Jesus.  Joseph and Mary had travelled to Bethlehem to register to be taxed.  (Verses 4-5).  With so many people traveling to Bethlehem, also registering to be taxed, they could find no lodging place or guesthouse to stay in. 

A manger is literally a feeding trough, so we can rightly surmise that the Lord Jesus was born in a stable, barn, or even in a cave where animals might have been kept.  It was on the same day of His birth, that the angel of the Lord appeared unto shepherds and announced the birth of the Lord Jesus to them.  “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”  (Luke 2:11-12).  The shepherds responded to the announcement of the angels and left their fields to see Christ the Lord as we see in Luke 2:16, “And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” 

Now, let’s read about the wise men in Matthew 2:1-2, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 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.”  These magicians or sorcerers had witnessed the sign in the heavens and realized this monumental occasion…that a king had just been born.  They visited King Herod for more information as to where the Lord was to be born.  This visit troubled Herod and he called for the chief priests and scribes to tell him where this ‘King of the Jews” was to be born.  We read in Matthew 2:4-6, “And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.”  (This prophesy was found in Micah 5:2). 

At this point, Herod behaves deceitfully towards the men from the East.  We read in verses 7-8, “Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.” 

Matthew 2:9-11 says, “When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when THEY WERE COME INTO THE HOUSE, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”  We know from the above verses that the Lord Jesus was born in a manger, probably in a barn.  By the time the wise men reached the Lord Jesus, He was in a house…not a barn.  This shows us that the wise men DID NOT reach the Lord on the night of His birth. 

The Lord warned the wise men of Herod’s deceit and instructed them not to return to him.  Now let’s read verse 16, “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.”

Herod’s desire was to destroy the Lord Jesus.  Obviously, Herod was threatened by this “King of the Jews” born in Bethlehem.  In order to destroy Him, Herod had all the boys that were two years old and younger killed.  This gives us the idea that it had been close to two years since the wise men had met with Herod.  So, when the wise men finally reached the Lord, He was living in a house, and was close to two years old. 

Despite of the many Nativity scenes that are displayed around Christmas time, the wise men were not present at the birth of the Lord Jesus in a manger.  They met Him later when He and Mary and Joseph were dwelling in a house.  (CC)  (506.2)