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Luke 2:1-14 (NIV)
The Birth of Jesus
2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 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. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 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. 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
These few verses in the gospel of Luke contain the entrance of Jesus Christ, God made flesh. Even if you don’t know much about the politics or the geography, it’s hard to miss the scope of this event. We begin with a declaration from Caesar Augustus that can make every man, woman, and child relocate for a census. We end with lowly, scruffy shepherds as an audience to a heavenly choir. We hear the proclamation of good news and great joy… And find a new mother who “gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). In the midst of these few verses, God shows us the sweep of his mighty reach, from the heights of power to the lowly workers; the span of all creation is present at the birth of God’s only son. And he comes in this unexpected way: a tiny baby. In the midst of this Christmas, let us keep watch for all the ways that God shows up. Let us be ready. Let us make room. Let us pray: Heavenly Father, prepare us to welcome your Son anew this day. Show us how to make room in our hearts, to welcome Christ into our lives and to be the light of Christ to others, this day and every day. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.