The birth of Jesus is a message of hope and peace
Published 11:50 am Friday, December 22, 2023
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.
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. 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, 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.
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. 11 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. 1 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told to 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. (The Christmas story as told in Luke 2: 1-20)
It is once again Christmastime
As told in the Bible, an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds out in a field and said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you.”
A baby born in a manger brought an amazing promise to the world.
For Christians, Christmas is the celebration of that promise.
It also is the culmination of a holiday season that, despite the hype and commercialism, touches hearts and minds in a way that cuts across religious lines, more so than any other holiday we celebrate in America. It has for generations come to represent a special time of giving, of caring not only for ourselves and our own families but also others in need. It is a special time for our children and a poignant time to remember our own childhoods. The memories we make at this time last far into the year after the season has passed.
Whether you believe in the Christian faith or not, the message of hope and redemption is a compelling one. The impact of the birth of the baby Jesus has been worldwide. His life and teachings reconnect us with all that is good in the world.
Families will be gathering to celebrate the memories and gifts of sharing and love that have bound them together for a lifetime. Volunteers will feed and support the needy. And many, many prayers will be spoken in hopes that peace, love and compassion among us all in this troubled world will be embraced anew.
Such is the powerful legacy to the multitude of generations that have come after that one which witnessed the extraordinary birth in Bethlehem being celebrated this day. It was a birth that made the world a different place.
We hope that, today of all days, those who feel lost may be found; that those who mourn will find comfort, and that many will be welcomed home.
We pray that the issues that divide us can be forgotten today. That we will remember that we create our own joys and can always choose hope and seize that promise extended so long ago, in a manger in Bethlehem.
When genuine love is extended to our families, friends and neighbors, we just may find that the miracle and mystery of Christmas still has the power to change the world.