Night Before Christmas

As we reach the end of the 12 Day to Christmas series, I thought it would be best to go back to the beginning, and in this case, right at the very beginning of the Christmas story itself.  I thought it would be best to highlight the account of Christ's birth as narrated by Luke in the gospel.

Yes, it is a bittersweet Christmas for my family this year, and yes, it will take a long time for us to come to terms with the pain, the sorrow and the anguish. However, there are slivers of light that shine in hope now and then... the gospels talk about the Savior's birth and it is this event that is being celebrated this season, but it is worthwhile to remember that Christ was known as Immanuel (or God with us).

For those of us who have been grieving it is a comfort to now that the Christ we worship is Immanuel, God with us. In other words, when we mourn he is with us, when we grieve he is with us, when we are in anguish he is with us, when we are in pain he is with us, and as we cry he is with us. His promise is to never leave nor forsake  and that is what will hold us together through the challenges that lie ahead.

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[a] 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.


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