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Archive for December 16th, 2014

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Luke 2, the well known, oft told story of Christmas.

Even the least likely of those, to read or know the contents of a Bible are familiar with these words.

It starts with talk of a census … order, of the man-made variety. The counting of the people in the land, and all would be counted. Interesting that this is where the great story begins … the remainder of the story orchestrated by Creator God, who was about to send the One who would make every person count, whether Jew or Gentile, male or female, rich or poor.

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph, a man … the law abiding, wife selfless wife-loving, faithful to God man, who also ‘happened’ to be a descendant of David. Mary, a woman who God chose as the vessel through which redemption would come into the world. The babe, born to parents who had not consummated their marital commitment, among filthy barn animals, to a world which would crucify him.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Shepherds, uneducated, unappreciated, smelly boys and men, caring for a most dense beast on this Earth get the scoop on the new baby, by an angel. Despite being able and accustomed to protecting their flocks from the likes of bear and lions, the message from the angel begins with “do not be afraid.” It ends with directions of where to go to find this child, then more angels appear and sing praises to God.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

This familiar text is what Christmas is all about. It is a little, albeit irregular, family, in a foreign land, delivering the King of Kings, in the presence of cow patties and pig slop, and the first visitors were stinky shepherds.

And that is just the beginning of how this babe’s arrival turned all of history and future up-side-down.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
(Luke 2:2-14)

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