The Birth at Bethlehem

Today's Bible reading: Luke 2:1-20

Luke places Jesus birth in the framework of world history - specific names, places and dates - but also within the setting of Israel's hopes.  The Son of David is born in Bethlehem, the city of David.  His birth - in its external circumstances - is marked by humility and poverty … not by the pomp and riches of a royal birth in a palace.

Actually, the full expression of the Gospel of Christmas first comes with the angelic appearance to shepherds.  Far from representing the upper-class or religious elite among the Jews … the shepherds represent rather the dregs of society, so to speak, or at least the lower classes.  That’s in keeping with Luke's stress on the Gospel as God's message for poor sinners.  So, it’s not the religious leaders in Jerusalem who first see the glory surrounding the lowly babe … it is to “sinners” that the Good News of great joy is announced: God’s Messiah - the Christ - our Savior, is born!

The scene in the fields and at the manger is marked by joy and praise … but also by amazement.  As we just noted, Luke wants to show that the Gospel does not conform to our expectations of how God should act.  Yet in all this lowliness there is still glorythe glory of God's own presence now living among humankind.

Prayer: O Holy Child, I treasure the Good News of Your birth for my salvation.  Call others to faith through me.  Amen.