The Gospel Passage – The Week of Christmas: Jesus is here!
“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered.
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. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 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.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 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: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
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.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” (Luke 2:1-20)
I wish you could see, beloved reader, the “full-stage” production I see in my mind when I read this passage. At all the appropriate moments a choir breaks into songs such as “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, “Silent Night”, “Away in a Manager”, “Angels We Have Heard on High”, and narrator guides the watcher/listener throughout.
I love Christmas time with all its decorations, colors, songs, and celebrations. I love especially the gospel of Luke’s telling of the story. What I like best about the Luke story is the line buried in all that “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” I do not know if that is something writer of the gospel of Luke actually knew (and how it was known) or if it was just something that was attributed to Mary. But it always made me fill some kinship to Mary, because I am a ponderer too.
May you, beloved reader, ponder on the story of Jesus’ birth. And may your thoughts of wonder and joy carry you through the Christmas season. Selah!