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. (Luke 2:1-20)
It was a simple scene when Jesus was born – a rough room, a young couple, and nothing but a feeding trough to put the child in. It was probably quite cold and with family far away there was little help. Not exactly the Hallmark moment that is often shown in “Christmas” pageants. And yet this rustic scene marked the greatest event in the history of mankind.
God's Son became human and came to earth to save us. God had promised to send a Messiah (Isa. 9:6), one who would save His people (Mat. 1:21). He could have easily burst on the scene as a full grown man, a seven foot warrior with fiery eyes and arms of steel. This was what many people were looking for, but it wasn't how God did it. He arrived in the arms of a young girl (Isa. 7:14). He was, as another of our authors put it "a very small package, wrapped in rags, given from the heart of God. The perfect gift." (Cf. Eph. 2:8)
God gave His only Son to die in our place so that we, in all our brokenness, could know forgiveness (Jo. 3:16; Ro. 5:8; Ac. 2:36-41). He came so that we could know what love feels like, real love – love that never leaves, love that never disappoints, love that is never betrayed. He sent His Son into a corrupted world to bring us hope (1 Pe. 1:3).
How are you doing at this time?
Are you having a hard time finding hope in the world? Are you having a hard time finding peace? It doesn't have to be that way. You can have peace and find hope and know forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Mt. 11:28-30; Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:38).
Adapted, Author Unknown
THE GOSPEL PLAN OF SALVATION
- The great love of God for man. (John 3:16)
- He gave Christ as the savior. (Luke 19:10)
- He sent the Holy Spirit as a guide. (John 16:13)
- He gave the Gospel as "the power" unto salvation. (Romans 1:16)
- Provided atonement by the blood of Christ. (Romans 5:9; Colossians 1:14)
- HEAR the Gospel. (Romans 10:17; John 8:32)
- BELIEVE the Gospel. (Hebrews 11:6; John 20:31)
- REPENT of past sins. (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30)
- CONFESS faith in Christ. (Romans 10:10; Matthew 10:32)
- BE BAPTIZED for remission of sins. (Galatians 3:27; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38)
- BE FAITHFUL unto death. (Revelation 2:10)
God has done His part; Will you do yours?
A SAD OVERSIGHT
Thomas Carlyle was a famous British historian who died in 1881. In 1826, he married Jane Welsh. Jane Welsh adored her distinguished husband, and Carlyle loved her, at least as far as Thomas Carlyle could love anyone.
Jane Welsh longed to hear words that were never said. She wrote in her diary,
"Carlyle never praises me. If he says nothing I have to be content that things are all right."
After his wife's death, Carlyle finally discovered, by reading his wife's diary, that his wife's heart had been aching to hear the words he never said.
How many husbands, wives and children need to hear that they are loved. If you have precious ones at home, don't take them for granted. Tell them and show them that you love them.
The sages and heroes of history are receding from us, and history contracts the record of their deeds into a narrower and narrower page. But time has no power over the name and deeds and words of Jesus Christ.
William Ellery Channing