Luke 2:1-21

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.”

 reflect

Jesus was born in a barn, and after His mother swaddled Him, she gently placed Him in a feed trough instead of a crib. The smell of manure and wet straw permeated the chilly night air—humble beginnings for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,

The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head.

The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,

The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

About 700 years before the Messiah was born, Isaiah gave this prophecy: “‘Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel’” (Isaiah 7:14).

Silent night, Holy night!

Son of God, love's pure light

Radiant beams from Thy holy face,

With the dawn of redeeming grace,

Jesus Lord at thy birth;

Jesus Lord at thy birth.

Around the same time, Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, the City of David: “‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times’” (Micah 5:2).

O little town of Bethlehem,

How still we see thee lie!

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep

The silent stars go by;

Yet in thy darkness shineth

The everlasting Light;

The hopes and fears of all the years

Are met in thee tonight.

That child born in Bethlehem was destined to save the world. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;

Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare him room,

And heaven and nature sing,

And heaven and nature sing,

And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

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