Read Luke 1:1-20

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. 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. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her 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 flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were 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 saying, “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.

 

from Rev. David Chafin

Deputy Regional Minister

Some people really prefer that life offer them no surprises. When I find myself surprised, even with an unexpected joy, what I usually do is…wait for it…nothing. Often, I think that the suddenness of it all sets me aback, to the extent that I don’t quite know what to do with myself. Too easily, I get lost in the shock itself, or the wonder of it all.

But when these people who had so much less than I to hope for were startled with the news of God’s defining act of salvation, they wasted no time. They moved with great haste to find the Holy Family – to tell the very subjects of the news they’d just received what was happening through their natural human experience of bringing a child into the world – of the proclamation of the angel, the chant of “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth!” All the world changed that night for these common laborers, for that family, and for people like you and me.

If we allow ourselves to be shaken with this startling news of a Savior born to us, how can we sit still? We may not fully understand it. I’m pretty sure those shepherds didn’t. But we must tell it, friends, tell it tonight, and hurry up about it. Christ is coming; Christ is here! Good news: Merry Christmas!

All your world is awakening to your presence, O Christ.

Be born in us anew, and send us forth

to tell and to be your Good News in all the world! Amen.

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