“Baby.. lying in a manger” Luke 2:1-20
One week today, the world will stop at least parts of the world will stop; maybe a portion of some countries, maybe some people in your city will stop and just be with family and friends for one of the most cherished and celebrated days of the year.. Christmas. Blessings to you as you prepare to celebrate this day with family and friends and reach out to those who may not be able to celebrate in the same way as you will this year. And may God be with those who our grieving and mourning those as their loved ones are spending their first Christmas with Jesus in heaven.
But what does this all mean for us in 2019? For centuries this date has been set aside to make it special, to exchange gifts to enjoy the company of family and friends not seen in weeks, months or years. It is a time to share traditions passed along from one country to another, from one generation to another and a time to establish new traditions as families begin to grow older with specific wants and needs.
Maybe your tradition includes the reading of the Christmas story from Luke 2. Or maybe the beloved poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” adds to your family time. For many people, it is the evening before Christ’s birthday that calls them back to the church where they went as children, or where they have never been before. Maybe it is the Spirit of Christ that is warming the hearts of people to look to what was done in the past and move to something new—because there is a yearning for a simpler life because something or Someone is missing.
This Someone is God’s gift of love wrapped in a manger. It is the baby who lies in a feed trough, trying to rest as his parents keep him warm and clean in a barn crowded with transport animals. It is the baby who sleeps, cries, eats and does what babies do opens the hearts of all who show love. And those who shared their love when this Baby Jesus was born were not family members but strangers sent by angels to go and see, worship and tell. They left their sheep in the field and saw the new parents resting with the baby. There they witnessed God’s Gift to the world just as the angels had told them. They also left rejoicing and filled with God’s Spirit so much that their joy overflowed.
What about you? When you hear the angels’ words” Glory be to God in the highest and on earth peace.” How will you respond? These shepherds were not only the first ones to hear, they were the first messengers of the story. They knelt before Jesus and then stood before others and proclaimed Christ’s glory. What an amazing perspective the shepherds told to passersby! What an experience we still hear about over 2000 years ago!
May the peace, joy, hope, love of the Baby in the Manger lead you to worship with those who believe in his coming to earth as a baby, who believe Jesus to be the Christ of the cross and the Saviour of the world. Worship and tell others this good news in Jesus name and to His glory!
A reminder: Glenwood United Church, 1825 Grand Marais Road West, Windsor, ON will share in worship of Christ’s birth on Christmas Eve, Dec 24 at 7 p.m. Come and worship, be moved by God’s Spirit!
[Inspired by Bill Crowder, “Windows on Christmas: Biblical Perspectives on the Birth of Jesus” Our Daily Bred Ministries, 2019]
[NEXT REFLECTION Wednesday January 8, 2020]