24 & 25, 2002
Nativity of the Lord Christmas Eve & Day - Proper 1
Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)
About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken
throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius
was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral
hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean
town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for
the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He
went with Mary, his fiancee, who was pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She
gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket
and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had
set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood
among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified.
The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a
great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide:
A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is
Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped
in a blanket and lying in a manger."
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing
"Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him."
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the
sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem
as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed
to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and
the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told
everyone they met what the angels had said about this child.
All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep
within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying
and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned
out exactly the way they'd been told.
The Spiritual Formation Bible encourages singing
with angels. "Everyone is singing - Mary (1:46-55), Zechariah,
Simeon (2:28-32), the angels! Sing a song of praise - such as
"Angels We Have Heard on High" (especially the chorus)
- in the shower, in the woods or in the car. Sing where no one
can hear you so that you can sing exuberantly and can embellish
your song of praise with worshipful gestures or movement. Experiment
with the joy of worshiping God - let inward singing permeate
your activities. Another option: Sing the African-American spiritual
"Guide My Feet" (based on Luke 1:79).
Don't you wonder what we would be able to hear if we weren't
That question is not just for individuals, but for whole nations
who prefer to see themselves as innocent targets of terrorism
or fearful of containable dangers from half-way around the world.
What do you think the function of holding things "dear and
deep" within one's self is? What are you holding "dear
and deep"? Does it give you courage to do what needs doing?
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