2003-12-26 - Must-read that's not on the New York Times Bestseller List
As our longtime subscribers know, sometimes we simply let the Bible speak for itself,with no commentary from us. This is such an occasion. As many of us celebrate Christ's Earthly birth, we will share the Christmas story penned by Luke. From The Message:
About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, Davids town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.
An Event for Everyone
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, Gods angel stood among them and Gods glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Dont be afraid. Im here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in Davids town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what youre to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing Gods praises:
"Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him."
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Lets get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way theyd been told!