God’s Word of Joy
Luke 2:1-20: Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem where Jesus is born. Angels announce the news of his birth to shepherds in a nearby field. The shepherds hurry off and find the baby Jesus in a manger.
The Birth of Jesus
1At that time Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2When this first census took place, Quirinius was the governor of Syria. 3Everyone, then, went to register himself, each to his own hometown.
4Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of King David. Joseph went there because he was a descendant of David. 5He went to register with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him. She was pregnant, 6and while they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her baby. 7She gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger—there was no room for them to stay in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
8There were some shepherds in that part of the country who were spending the night in the fields, taking care of their flocks. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone over them. They were terribly afraid, 10but the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. 11This very day in David’s town your Savior was born—Christ the Lord! 12And this is what will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13Suddenly a great army of heaven’s angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God:
14“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased!”
15When the angels went away from them back 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.”
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and saw the baby lying in the manger. 17When the shepherds saw him, they told them what the angel had said about the child. 18All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said. 19Mary remembered all these things and thought deeply about them. 20The shepherds went back, singing praises to God for all they had heard and seen; it had been just as the angel had told them.
Today’s Key Verse: Luke 2:11
“This very day in David’s town your Savior was born—Christ the Lord!”
Luke’s account of Jesus’s humble birth is set against the backdrop of the political situation at that time. A census had been ordered by Emperor Augustus to regulate the collection of taxes, an indication of Rome’s domination over the people. Shepherds were on the low end of the social scale, yet they are the first to hear the news of Jesus’s birth. For whom is Jesus’s birth good news today? Why?
Glory to God in the highest! Lord Jesus, I join in singing the angels’ song and celebrate your birth. You are my Savior, and the good news of your birth fills me with great joy. Amen.
Luke 2:21-52: Jesus is named and presented in the Temple.