Sunday, December 15, 2013

December 15

Luke 2:1-20
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 
(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 
And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 
He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, 
keeping watch over their flocks at night. 
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, 
and they were terrified. 
But the angel said to them, 
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, 
praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 
“Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, 
they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 
and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

A child.  We have waited so long.  We have yearned for the day when God’s promised Messiah would come to earth.  It didn’t happen like the Jews expected.  Jesus was not born in a palace and into a life of ease.  Rather his parents had to travel and all the hotels were full.  They had to find a place because their child would be coming into the world soon.  A barn was offered to them and she had her baby there, cushioned by straw, surrounded by animals.  With gentleness and love, she cleaned her baby, wrapped him in cloths and laid him in the trough where she could gaze at him in wonder and awe as he slept.  

Nearby some shepherds were taking care of their sheep that night.  They were talking and trying to stay warm in the night chill.  As the sheep milled around the shepherds kept one ear tuned into any nearby danger.  And suddenly the sky became bright and an angel was there.  They were scared - not just scared but terrified.  And the angel said “Do not be afraid.”  The angel told them “It is happening now, the promise is being fulfilled, the Messiah is here, and God wants you to be a part of it.”  Just like humble shepherds were chosen to be a part of God’s story of redemption on this earth, God wants you to be a part of that story too.  

Then the sky was filled with a host of angels praising God.  When a choir breaks out in the Hallelujah chorus we stand to our feet acknowledging the joy and glory of the our Savior’s reign.  There is nothing else we can say.  I think an awe greater than any song we know confronted the shepherds.  A sky filled with angels praising God.  I would imagine they were overcome with emotion and many fell to their knees in worship of God.

In their simpleness they are just like we are today.  They wanted to see first hand this baby that had caused angels from Heaven to fill the sky.  I’m sure they wanted to touch Him, coo over Him  and worship Him- and they did, they saw the baby, Jesus, the Messiah.  They were not disappointed.  God who would save them from all came just like they were, poor, humble, human.  

Mary watched as these men filed in to see her baby.  She knew she cradled the Messiah in her arms, but now God was spreading the word.  I would imagine that she had her doubts from time to time, but God supplied the encouragement.  And she tucked away these signs from God for a later date when she would be discouraged to remind her that God keeps his promises.

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