Luke 2:1-14, 15-20
2:1 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2:2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
2:3 All went to their own towns to be registered.
2:4 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.
2:5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
2:6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.
2:7 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.
2:8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
2:9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
2:10 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:
2:11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
2:12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
2:14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
2:15 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.”
2:16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.
2:17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child;
2:18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.
2:19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
This is the first announcement of Jesus’ actual physical birth. Notice how this announcement was not just any formal information session about an ordinary child. This was the declaration of the son of God finally and physically being brought into this world. Since this was no ordinary message, it required a grand and glorious announcement. This was the Savior of the world who had finally come to fulfill all of what had been promised in times past.
This passage also depicts the accuracy of what God had promised and the joy that it brings. The Angel’s announcement to the Shepherd’s was not only glorious but very specific and accurate. When God makes a promise to His people He ensures that He will deliver exactly Starting with declaring who the child is “Messiah” and moving to saying that He is the Lord. The Angel then tells them exactly what they will find when they get to Bethlehem, “you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger”.
All of what the Angel had told had been true. Upon arriving to Bethlehem they saw with their own eyes exactly as it was told and could not hold on to the good news and began to spread it others around them. Not only were they filled with joy but they also praised God for bringing them this good news and allowing for them to experience the reality of their promised Savior.
What a joy that this passage brings us, especially during this Christmas season. It is a passage that is filled with hope and excitement about seeing how God’s plan of ultimate redemption was being put into play. This is a message about salvation and this Christmas let us celebrate what God has done for us and spread this news to the rest of the world.
When God delivers a message it’s kind of a big deal. The interesting thing we find in Luke’s gospel is that the message was given to the lowly shepherds. There were countless rulers and political elites that could have received the message. There were religious leaders that could have received the message. Yet, God chose to tell the most humble. This is a characteristic that shows up again during Jesus’ ministry. God uses the weak to confound the mighty. He uses the lowly people to expand the kingdom.
Today we should take note of how God operates. Let us not be caught up in trying to expand the kingdom through force or through law but let us spread it through love and humility. That is a message that is contagious. Indeed, that is the Christmas spirit that the world longs for every winter.