The Nativity of Our Lord-12-25-2021
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to Luke 2:1-20
“In those days a decree went out form Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All wen to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee o Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engages and who was expecting a child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their clock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they wee terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see —- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and say, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’ When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
The Gospel of our Lord.
The cloth strips were used both for infants and for wrapping the bodies of the dead, a deeper symbol in the light of subsequent events. The Gloria of the angels is Luke’s third Christmas song. “Peace to men” is certainly the intent of God expressed in the birth of Jesus. God has shown His favor on those “on whom His favor rests,” that is, those who were both available and willing to hear the word of God in the birth of Jesus Christ. The first witnesses to Christmas were working people who were not afraid to interrupt their usual schedule to participate in God’s good news. Mary had much to ponder, much to treasure, and also much to suffer. If some have exaggerated the role of Mary, others have dismissed her great acts of faith and her essential part in the gospel of the Word of God. Our familiarity with Luke’s Christmas story is often overladen with latter romantic ideas about Christmas. The reality of suffering and deprivation at His birth was as real as that at His death.
So what have we learned in this Gospel message? Jesus’ birth came in the ongoing stream of history. God worked through unbelieving rulers and their political purposes to provide the unrepeatable gift of salvation in Christ the Messiah. We have learned about humanity, the caring parents prepare for the birth of a child, even though they were not aware of everything, but their faith was very strong but in differing ways.
We have learned about that the glory of God is a visible, concentrated manifestation of the very nature or person of God. Quite often the glory of God is associated with “shining;” the emphasis is not upon the “shining,” or how the manifestation occurs,, but rather on the sense of awe that it produces in those who perceive it. “Savior” applied to Jesus is an extension of the Old Testament idea of God saving and delivering His people. Salvation applies to all areas of life (physical, psychic, and spiritual). To call Jesus Savior is to relate Him to God.
Angels may appear individually or in groups with a representative speaking. Angels praise God and thus encourage people to join their son. God sent angels to the shepherds, people of no social standing the the world’s view, but just the opposite in God’s eyes. God’s grace is very visible in this gospel, revealing that God is not detached, uninvolved with what is going on with His people, but is expressed in his favor towards His people whose redemption He was working out even then. The angels welcomed Christ’s birth with praise to God and a blessing calling for peace to all those committed to God’s grace.
Something overlooked many times is the fact that evangelism was very evident for after the shepherds left the manger, they told others of what they had seen and heard and shared this revelation, and is no less important today beloved. Praising God surrounds the Incarnation of God into human flesh. The coming of Jesus as Savior is the central reason for us to praise God, for such praise reflects our relationship with God through Christ Jesus, reflects our heavenly connection to Almighty God. So today, I wish each of you a Very Merry Christmas, for Jesus Christ is the Reason for the Season! May you each reflect on this gospel message, by reading it in your own Bibles, and praying on its meaning for you individually and collectively as Christ’s followers. Amen