My friend Shannon from The Heavy Purse has talked recently about the importance of traditions at Christmas. Like her I’ve seen how traditions help bind families together. They create strong emotional connections. They build lasting memories that are always looked back upon with fondness (or maybe not if you hated your family’s traditions…here’s to hoping that’s not the case).
One tradition we started when our kids were old enough was to read the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas Eve. After that we get a jump on unwrapping presents by opening the kids’ stockings. In recent years as the kids have become older, we’ve also added the viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Christmas Eve.
Even though we won’t be buying our kids presents this year, we will continue the reading and the movie watching. For us it’s a reminder of what the season means and how much we have for which to be grateful.
Perhaps you’ve never read the Bible story from Luke 2 about the birth of Jesus. It’s not what you might expect, considering Jesus was heralded in the Hebrew literature as the King of the Jews. He came into the world in the humblest of circumstances, surrounded by only his parents, some barnyard animals and a few unimportant shepherds.
Yet this simple story details the beginnings of a life that would change the world. I share it now with the hope that it might lead you to consider what Jesus could mean for you.
The Biblical Christmas Story From Luke 2
“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, 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,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”
And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”
What stands out to you about the birth of Jesus? Moms…can you imagine giving birth in a stable and resting your child in a feeding trough? What symbolism do you see in the angels announcing this birth to the shepherds?
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