More About the Christmas Story
Reading form Luke 2:13-19
The Story of Christmas does not end with the announcement of an angel to the shepherds. The week’s portion of the story starts off with the sudden appearance of a whole lot of angels join with the angelic announcement. They did not just show up – they are also celebrating the declaration that is made. They now declare their praises too! Praise to God, and peace on earth!
Scriptures come to life when we stop to think about the words we see. Imagine a “company of angels” – hundreds of angels, appearing and listening to the announcement that is made. Imagine too, as the angels begin to shout their praises to God. I do not think they were mumbling, nor were they holding anything back. We might picture a stadium sized crowd, cheering at the top of their voice! Glory to God!
Picture too, this crowd as they listen to this heavenly announcement, followed by their thunderous praise. Something incredible is happening! And soon, the angels not only praise God, but call for His blessings for peace upon the earth.
And finally, in the closing words from this week’s portion of the story, we turn back to the shepherds. They have declared that they are going to Bethlehem, to see for themselves, exactly what the Lord has told them about. After what they just witness, I doubt that there was a long discussion of whether to go, what to bring or even what to wear. They are headed to Bethlehem to see this baby that has just been born.
We are invited to this same type of experience. Although we will not be personally invited by an angel, and a company of heavenly hosts won’t be cheering us on. But the announcement to us remains for us to come to the Savior, and discover what God has done – as well as what He is yet to do in you and through you. Christmas will never be the same again.
Reading from Luke 2:8-12
The Story of Christmas continues…
Last time we thought a little bit about Mary and Joseph and their journey to Bethlehem. The journey was required, the accommodations were few and far between – and the best they could find was the barn behind the inn.
This week’s portion of the story focuses on the working shepherds, out in the fields with their sheep. The shepherd is there to protect the sheep from the night’s predators. The night watch is an important time of keeping the flock together, providing their protection and trying to get a little rest too.
Imagine, that in these somewhat peaceful moments, an angel appears! The story says that the Lord’s glory (shining as an extremely bright light) shone around them. It likely is terrifying the rough and tough, field-smart, shepherds. The angel proclaims that they are not to be afraid – because he has a message of good news and it is filled with great joy!
Now that the angel captures the attention of the shepherds and tells them, “Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” The long-awaited Messiah, the Savior of the world has been born. The first official words of the birth of the Son of God comes to the shepherds rather than the kings and rulers. The shepherds are left with a clue of where to find the baby, as they are set up for the journey to find him.
We are all invited to a journey that will take us to the place where we can meet the Savior of the World!
Reading from Luke 2:1-7
It is time for a census of the Roman world. Caesar Augustus wants to know all the personal details of his Roman empire.
Unfortunately, it is not as easy as going online and answering a few basic questions. In those days, you are expected to put life on hold, and travel to your hometown and register with the “clerk”. No excuses, no absentees, no proxies.
So, Joseph and Mary head to Bethlehem. Mary, pregnant and ready to give birth at any moment travels with Joseph to the crowded little village. Upon arrival, there are no rooms available, everyone is negotiating for a place to stay. Joseph, in desperation, finds a place in barn where the animals are brought in out of the weather.
And while Mary and Joseph are there in Bethlehem, the baby, Jesus is born. It is born in barn, he is swaddled in clothes that are not his, and when he isn't being held, laid in the manger, a feeding trough to rest.
Yes, the Savior of the world, the very Son of God who created everything, came into this world in the most humble of ways!
This Christmas season, take a moment to remember the humble way that Jesus arrived in this world. Realize the pace for people at that time was hectic too. Cherish the thought of parents, who will do whatever they can to make the best of their situation. Pause long enough to consider the moment that God became man and began living among us. (Emmanuel)