“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 Savior, 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 favors!‟
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.” Luke 2:8-20
This month, we are getting ready to celebrate a birthday. And not just any birthday! We are preparing to celebrate the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth, born so many years ago in a simple manger in Bethlehem. It‟s almost time for Christmas!
And Christmas is a busy season, to say the least. December is packed with office and family parties, shopping for presents, decorating and baking, and (at least in my house) getting ready for school exams. Christmas music is playing in every store and many radio stations, Christmas trees are for sale all over town, and peppermint coffee is all the rage at Starbucks. Christmas is, without a doubt, the busiest and brightest holiday of the year.
But, Christmas isn’t just about giving and receiving gifts, or listening to Christmas carols and eating Christmas cookies, or even going to Christmas parties. It is about preparing for the coming of Jesus into the world and into our hearts. It is about celebrating the good news of God‟s unending love!
We are now in the season of Advent, the season of the liturgical year where we prepare for and await Jesus‟ coming with anticipation and joy. We remember all the events that preceded and prepared the way for the first “coming” of Jesus, and we anticipate with hope and expectation his coming again in glory.
May we all take time this Christmas season to contemplate the incredible gift God has given us in Jesus, the little babe in the manger who saved the world and who will return in glory someday. May each of us experience the joy and hope of the season, and be filled with Jesus‟ peace and love. And may we share that peace and love with the world, as we proclaim the good news of the true meaning of Christmas!