In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth 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 heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
Food For Thought:
The line that stands out to me in this passage of Scripture is “Do not be afraid.” Throughout Scripture, God has reminded God’s people not to be afraid. Fear is a natural response of human beings to the unknown or unfamiliar. Sometimes, there are certain situations in which fear keeps us safe. But other times, fear overrides our ability to be compassionate to that which is different or unfamiliar. Think of a time in your life when you have ignored this feeling of fear to reach out to another person. Think of a time in your life when you have been afraid and didn’t reach out to someone else because of fear. Today, I would encourage you to reach out to someone on the fringes of society.
God of incarnation,
your angel host announces
that peace has been born among us,
embodied in fragile flesh.
By your grace, transform our prayers from words to deeds,
that we may live as a holy people
in the dawn of your peace,
redeemed from all that divides us. Amen.
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