December 25 – Time To Ponder
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to 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, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths 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, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
- Luke 2:1 – 19
It is Christmas day and we have traveled many miles in the greatest story. We’ve seen the creation of this world, the fall of Adam, the promises of God, and now we meet the fulfillment of God’s promises. Jesus is born and his birth signals a new chapter in God’s great story.
In the womb, Jesus created massive questions, “How can this be? What is God up to? Is Mary telling the truth?”
In a few short years, Jesus will create massive divisions. Some will love him. Others will follow him. But most will cry, “Crucify him!” That day will be the darkest day in the story.
But for now, the story is given to pondering. Jesus has just been born. Shortly after his birth, shepherds come to see the miracle, then leave to tell glad tidings to those who will listen. And now Mary sits holding the rescuer in her arms. At this point, no one fully comprehends the plot twist that sleeps in Bethlehem’s stable. But it is something worth pondering.
So Mary looks into the face of her newborn baby, her firstborn son, the long-awaited savior. She touches his face. So this is the Dragon-Slayer. This is the fulfillment. This is the promised priest and the perfect sacrifice.
These words pierce Mary’s heart. But a pierced heart is part of the story.
It’s a strange story, if you stop to consider it. We run away, so God comes to find us. We sin, so God suffers. We break our promises, so God keeps his promises to us. And now all of God’s promises are wrapped in swaddling cloths and sleeping in a young woman’s arms.
No doubt Jesus’ coming changed Mary’s story forever. Before he came, she was an ordinary girl from a small town called Nazareth. But now all generations will call her blessed, for she believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken from the Lord, and in this her story became filled with good things.
Today spend some time considering how Jesus’ coming has changed your story. Maybe go for a walk and meditate on your personal journey with God. How has Jesus’ coming changed your life? What would your story be like without the Christmas story?
A Moment to Reflect
What sticks out to you from Luke 2:1 – 19?
In what ways has your life been changed by Jesus? Share your answer with your friends and family today.