Two thousand years ago, a baby was born who would take away the sins of men. He was a baby born without wealth, without fame, and without grand parties. When Mary and Joseph came to Bethlehem, the innkeeper couldn’t even spare a room for the soon-to-be parents. Instead, the two took refuge in a manger – the only spot available in a small, crowded town.
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. (Luke 2:6-7)
When Jesus was born, the Lord sent an angel to announce the arrival of His Son. Shepherds inhabited the fields all around the small town of Bethlehem, and these men bore witness to the glory of the Lord that night. The Bible tells us that the experience was so supernatural and so powerful that it scared them to their very cores!
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. (Luke 2:8-9)
However, their fear was short-lived, as the angel soon revealed to them the greatest news ever given in history: a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. The shepherds were then told to look for a child wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. As the angel was preparing to leave, a great number of heavenly angels appeared with him and shouted praises to God for the wonderful gift He had given the world.
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.” (Luke 2:10-14)
Being curious and full of excitement from their incredible encounter with the Lord, the shepherds sought out Jesus in nearby Bethlehem. They found him just as the angel had said: lying in a manger and wrapped in cloths. Mary and Joseph were also with the child. After they had seen the baby Jesus, the shepherds then went around the local areas and spread the good news. All who heard this good news were amazed.
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. (Luke 2:15-18)
Mary, of course, was filled with delight that Jesus was already receiving such praise and awe from the people. And as the shepherds returned to where they came from, they went about praising God and glorifying Him for what they’d seen. A world stuck in the darkness of sin and error would now have an advocate with the father, and that advocate was Jesus Christ.
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. (Luke 2:19-20)
Remembering the Reason for the Season
As this Christmas approaches, we could do no better than to turn our hearts and minds towards Jesus. We should “treasure up all these things and ponder them in our hearts” just as Mary did with the praises spoken by the shepherds. Reach out to others, extending to them the good news and remembering all the while the greatest gift we’ve ever received: Christ the Lord.
Have a merry Christmas, and may God bless you all!