December 23.  “A Sacred Christmas”

“Born for you this day in the City of David is a Savior who is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:11

Remembering what seems a lifetime ago, age 13 had come and I was considered a part of the youth group; this qualified me for an audition in the Christmas program offered by the student ministry that particular year.  Needless to say, as the youngest in the room, I stepped in and gave it my best shot.  After the auditions were concluded, I was told by our director, “maybe next year.” Dejected?  Yes.  But that soon turned to opportunity as I was assigned to read the Christmas story from Luke 2 at the beginning of the program.  I am sure you have felt the drama: in my mind, the “cool kids” (in this case, the older youth) were given the primary parts of the program, and it seemed I was “thrown a bone” as one of the older youth said, “Hey, you can read the Bible verses.”  Although all details are not clear, I vividly remember how it felt: in my mind, I was given a part in the program that seemed less valued by my peers.  It was then that my father suggested, “You should memorize the reading.”  And, that I did.  The energy I had saved up for lead shepherd or possibly even Joseph was now poured into memorizing the Christmas story.  The night came, and much to the surprise of all (yet, none more surprised than me), I stood up before the curtain was raised and quoted from memory the King James Version of Luke 2:1-20. I felt I could identify with Linus in the Charlie Brown Christmas.  After the program, the lead pastor of our church approached me and said, “I want you to quote this in front of the entire church next Sunday.”  And so it began.  Fast forward 40 years to this very moment, and I continue to thank God for that moment of disappointment that resulted in my memorization of the birth narrative of our Lord.  Since that time, I have quoted Luke 2 in many venues and for various occasions.  Today as I quote the story of our Savior’s birth, my heart continues to resonate with the sacredness of the story that impacted me the first night I stood before an audience to share these words.     

You may have a different story of how the reading of Luke 2 has impacted your life and your Christmas over the years.  Take a moment to relive the first time this story truly engaged your heart.  Take a moment to read through these sacred Scriptures that illustrate how God reached down and fulfilled all His promises in the arrival of that tiny babe in Bethlehem who is King and Lord over the universe. 

To make certain that your familiarity with the story does not causes you to lose the sacredness of the story, consider the following heart steps to take as you reread Luke 2.  First, focus on verse 7: “she brought forth her first born son.”  This defines the story of the virgin birth, as God through the Holy Spirit caused the young virgin to be with child.  Never before and never again has there been such a miracle. Do not lose the sacredness.  Second, focus on verse 11: “for there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord.”  When one looks intently at each of these titles, one understands how each magnifies the fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Holy Scriptures.  In Hebrews 1:3 we read, “After God spoke long ago in various portions and in various ways to our ancestors through the prophets, in these last days He has spoken to us in the Son.”  (The Greek language of this verse puts emphasis on God’s final revelation.)  Jesus fulfilled and summed up all things. Third, focus on the angels’ announcement in verse 14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth among people with whom He is pleased.”  This identifies God’s good pleasure with sending His Son to bring redemption to those who trust in Jesus. 

So, take a moment to notice that the miracle of the virgin birth (v. 7) brought Jesus to us as Savior, Christ, and Lord (v. 11) to redeem us according to God’s good pleasure (v. 14).  Every verse in the Christmas story is significant; yet, these three verses motivate us to hold up the story in its divine importance so that we never lose the sacredness. 

This is the story of our Savior’s arrival into our lives.  This is Jesus.  This is Christmas.              

READ: Today, mediate on Luke 2, and particularly verses 7, 11, and 14.  Revisit the sacredness of the story.   

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