Some things I will never tire of: good pizza, steaks grilled to perfection, my grandchildren’s laughter, peaceful lakeside evenings, cool mornings in a deer stand—you probably get the idea. Another thing that I treasure is the account of our Lord Jesus’ birth as recorded by the evangelist Saint Luke.
I sincerely doubt that he was there to witness this signal event, but I’m sure that he had reliable reports of the event. Luke was by trade a physician—a doctor—who was probably well trained in observation and listening techniques. He set the time: the first census taken while Augustus was Roman emperor and Quirinius was the Roman governor of Syria. Luke set the stage by making it clear that Jesus’ earthly parents were little more that displaced persons who were obeying the Roman ruler. Much of the account is plausible: the lack of housing, the rather crude facilities for Jesus’ birth, even the fact of shepherd watching their flock by night. Even the more fantastic parts come down to us (I suspect from first-hand observations and experiences. probably from the babe’s mother Mary and the shepherds).
Why, you may ask, do I treasure this account? Simply put, because this is God’s account of my Savior’s birth. It is the HIS-story of God made flesh and come to seek and save sinners (like me). It is the fact that “GOD SO LOVGED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON” (John 3:16). This event is God reaching through time and eternity to redeem you and me from our sin-debt condemnation we have earned by our humanity and many transgressions. What a wonderful, precious gift God has given us!
Listen to the this reading once more and celebrate:
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 room for them in the inn.
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 of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; her is Christ 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, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone back into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to B 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.
May we do so, also! Have a blessed Christmas!