Light a Candle to begin your prayer:
Almighty God open my mind and heart to your word as I read of your gift of Jesus Amen
Read Luke chapter 2 verses 1-20
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 Saviour, 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 favours!’
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.
Reflection on Bible Reading:
This is a story so familiar that sometimes we don’t even have to think or listen. So let’s look at a few things that may be new. First the location Bethlehem. My uncle went there once and said it was a real dump. Bethlehem is a small and insignificant place, in a small and insignificant country. A country that is powerless as it is occupied by Romans, in a town that nobody cares about. King David was the youngest son, the most powerless from a small backwater. Jesus is a descendant of his, so is born in his town. The greatest king Israel ever had was the youngest son from a backwater town. The king of the whole universe is born in a small backwater, homeless, born in a back room with the animals.
Who are the first people to know the most important event in human history, Shepherds. We all know that, but who are the shepherds? Shepherds were people who couldn’t be trusted, people who lived outside of the community. They were so badly thought of that they were not allowed to give evidence in a Jewish court. Surely God could have found better more respectable people to be the first to know? Maybe that is the point. God told the shepherds first because they were outcasts.
Pray this prayer aloud:
Lord Jesus Christ,
your birth at Bethlehem
draws us to kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth:
accept our heartfelt praise
as we worship you,
our Saviour and our eternal God.
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