Tell the Story!
(A Brief Devotional Prior to the Opening of Christmas Presents)
Whether yours is a quiet gift giving event – or one filled with children and grandchildren anxious to rip through wrapping, it’s a great idea to provide the context for Christmas! I recommend beginning with this simple truth.
This isn’t your birthday – it’s Jesus’ birthday! Let me tell you what happened on that very special night.
[Here go into your own telling of Luke 2. 1-20 or read it from your Bible, or last option, read it from here in the NIV…]
2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Keep in mind what we learned in Advent:
There is great power in story. Jesus used parables for teaching – almost exclusively! (Matthew 13.34)
This story, along with all other Bible stories are grounded in history! (. 1-3)
Following God is life altering – and could have cost Mary her life (.4-7)
God empowers the powerless with his powerful announcements. The shepherds were working class people who were given a life-changing, global message. (.8-12)
There was overwhelming accompaniment from the angelic host – heaven and earth were rejoicing together! (.13-15)
There was a wonderful urgency experienced by the shepherds who couldn’t wait to let people know what they had been told! (16-17)
Internal joy finds its way to external expression. From the thrill of the shepherds to the “pondering” of Mary, the real joy of life with Jesus finds outward expression! (18-20)
Closing Prayer: Heavenly Father, you started gift-giving first by providing creation for us to enjoy. You continued with the Gift of Jesus, Your Son, who entered our world to suffer, die and resurrect for us! All this so we could enjoy the Gift of heaven – eternal life with you! As we open presents today, make us mindful of how you first started it by all the gifts given to us because of your great love for us! In Jesus Name, Amen.
Now! Let’s open presents! ?