At that time the Emperor Augustus ordered a census of the Roman Empire. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All the people went to register in the cities where their ancestors had lived.
4 So Joseph went from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a Judean city called Bethlehem. Joseph, a descendant of King David, went to Bethlehem because David had been born there. 5 Joseph went there to register with Mary. She had been promised to him in marriage and was pregnant.
6 While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there wasn’t any room for them in the inn.
8 Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem. They were taking turns watching their flock during the night. 9 An angel from the Lord suddenly appeared to them. The glory of the Lord filled the area with light, and they were terrified. 10 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. 11 Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David’s city. 12 This is how you will recognize him: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, a large army of angels appeared with the angel. They were praising God by saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 The angels left them and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.”
16 They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph with the baby, who was lying in a manger. 17 When they saw the child, they repeated what they had been told about him. 18 Everyone who heard the shepherds’ story was amazed.
19 Mary treasured all these things in her heart and always thought about them.
20 As the shepherds returned to their flock, they glorified and praised God for everything they had seen and heard. Everything happened the way the angel had told them. – Luke 2:1-20
Diane will accompany me as I sing this on Christmas morning at St. John.
Here is the outline of my Christmas message from Christmas Eve’s 2, 4, 6, & 8 p.m. services.
The Light of God’s Love Has Come
We see this light in Bethlehem
- God’s light comes to and through Mary & Joseph in the course of the business of life.
- Shepherds see that light as a result of dramatic heavenly revelation and encounter, amidst the fabric of everyday vocation
- Magi are led to Bethlehem and to that Light through a study of God’s Word over against the study of the stars and planets movements in the heavens.
This light is most unusual
- The glory of the Lord – the Shekinah!
- God is showing up as a newborn and was laid in a feeding trough.
- No elaborate preparations were made. God was born on the road.
- His first visitors were not royalty nor religious leaders. They were shepherds. During Jesus’ time shepherds were scorned as shiftless dishonest people who grazed their flocks on others’ lands.
- But that does not stop God from acting, entering human history in this baby boy.
It shines on a baby boy who is the new King.
- A thousand times in history a baby has become a king. Only once in all of history as a King become a baby.
- He will be given the throne of his father, David
- The world was moving according to Caesar Augustus’ orders, but Jesus moves hearts according to the will of God – bringing true peace.
- There is a place in this kingdom for shepherds, wise men, families, and everyone.
- This is a kingdom of hope and humility – no matter our station in life.