Christmas Devotional for December 25th

The Birth of Jesus

1 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered. 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 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.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 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: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” 15 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.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

 

Merry Christmas, to you!
And Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Luke’s Gospel contains the classic telling of the Christmas story that catches our imagination – the story of a young couple who can’t find a place to rest their heads, and of the often overlooked shepherds who become the first witnesses to the best news the world has ever heard. I do not know when you might be reading this devotion. It may be the first thing you do on Christmas Day, or perhaps the last. You may be in the company of family. You may be surrounded by mounds of torn wrapping paper. You may be quietly on your own.

Wherever this day finds you, I pray that you – like Mary – will ponder deeply in your heart the wonder of this story about a God who tore open the heavens and came down in solidarity and love for God’s creation.

Luke reminds us God came at a certain time in history, to a certain place in the world, to a specific family, and as a specific human being. God came then and God continues to come to us. That is remarkably good news indeed.

-Mary Bowman

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