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The Birth of Jesus

The Birth of Jesus – Luke 2:1-20

mary and joseph

mary and joseph

If ever there was an opportunity for God to enact his plan of salvation with majestic flourish, it was at Jesus’ birth. But God did not presume upon humanity when he stepped in to redeem it. There was no pretence in his arrival. Rather, God chose to identify in the humblest of ways with those made in his image. The account of Jesus’ birth in Luke’s Gospel, mixes heavenly praise with earthly simplicity. Its contrast with the birth of John the Baptist is remarkable. John’s birth was announced in the capital, at the temple, in the centre of the Jewish nation. But Jesus arrives in rural anonymity. John is the child of a priest and his righteous wife, Jesus belongs to parents of average social status.

Yet, as humble as the setting is, Jesus’ birth is accompanied by the attention of the heavenly host. The shepherds who are privileged to share in the moment become bearers of a story full of wonder. Jesus’ birth marks the arrival of divine activity which should provoke joy, reflection and attentiveness. This is why the angels rejoiced, why Mary treasured these things and pondered them in her heart and why the shepherds told others of what they had seen and heard (adapted from Bock IVP, NTCS, pp. 53-54).

As we celebrate Christmas this year, may we too rejoice in the reality of the incarnation of God in Christ, may we also treasure these things and ponder them in our hearts and may we tell others of Jesus, ‘the reason for the season.’

 

 

     Luke 2:1-20

The Birth of Jesus

2In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.3All went to their own towns to be registered.4Joseph 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.5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.7And 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.9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:11to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah,* the Lord.12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’13And 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 favours!’*

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.’16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child;18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.