Christmas Day is the day we celebrate the birth of the Son of God. We focus on God becoming flesh in the most humble and vulnerable form imaginable. We celebrate the tiny baby who grew up to declare that God’s blessing was so much bigger and more extravagant than people would want to believe. We meditate on a baby who was not born in a palace, who opted out of hierarchy from the first moment possible. Think of the nativity scenes we set up in our homes, images of humble stables as a hallmark of Christian celebrations. We mark that the angels appeared to shepherds—peasants—and ignored the kings. We put up figures of donkeys and horses and sheep (and in my house, a little cat), both to lure children into the story but also to connect to scriptures of old. The whole earth, down to the smallest animal, rejoiced at the birth of Christ.
Today we do not celebrate just the birth of a baby but the birth of a baby who was born into a specific place and context, who had brown skin, and who grew up a poor Jewish man—the minority in a place governed by rulers who oppressed him and his people economically. We have a hope in a God who will restore all things lost, who suffered and was always drawn to those who had been cast aside by society.
Jesus didn’t come to tell people to be better, to behave in a way that was more pleasing. He didn’t even come to tell people to believe in God—most everyone already did in that day and age. Instead, Jesus came to embody who God was—an everlastingly good Father who desperately longs for real relationship with us all.
All the sad and wild things of the earth, everything meek and humble, was drawn to Jesus—the night of his birth and the rest of his life. And Jesus had good news for all of them, for all of us. May we be able to receive it this day!
The boy Samuel worshiped and served God from a young age. He grows in stature and favor, the same description that will later be applied to the young Jesus in this week’s reading from Luke. The psalmist praises God for raising up a “horn” for the people. This “horn” is referred to elsewhere in the Psalms as being the True King from the line of David, identified later by Luke (1:69) as Jesus. Paul encourages the Colossians to let love rule in their community and to praise God with songs and hymns (such as the Psalms). The additional readings for this special week focus our minds on the Advent of the Lord, the amazing truth that “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14), as the prophets had prophesied long ago.
Read Isaiah 9:2-7. Where in your world do you see darkness? What lies within your power to dispel it?
Read Psalm 148. How do you experience God’s creations worshiping and praising God? How do you join in that worship?
Read Colossians 3:12-17. How are you clothing yourself with love during this season?
Read Luke 2:1-20. In what ways do you hold and ponder the story of Christ’s birth in your heart?
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