God’s Saving Word: Joy
Luke 2:1–20: Luke’s account of Jesus’s humble birth is set in a geopolitical backdrop. A census has been ordered by Emperor Augustus to regulate the collection of taxes and remind the people of Rome’s domination. 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.
2 At that time Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 When this first census took place, Quirinius was the governor of Syria. 3 Everyone, then, went to register himself, each to his own hometown.
4 Joseph 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. 5 He went to register with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him. She was pregnant, 6 and while they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her baby. 7 She 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
8 There 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, 10 but 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. 11 This very day in David’s town your Savior was born—Christ the Lord! 12 And this is what will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly 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!”
15 When 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.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and saw the baby lying in the manger. 17 When the shepherds saw him, they told them what the angel had said about the child. 18 All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said. 19 Mary remembered all these things and thought deeply about them. 20 The 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
[The angel said:] “This very day in David’s town your Savior was born—Christ the Lord!”
Shepherds were on the low end of the social scale, yet they are the first to hear the news of Jesus’s birth. Why do you think they were chosen to hear this news? What was the angel’s message to them? What did they choose to do? With whom will you share the good news of Jesus’s birth?
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.
John 1:1–18: Jesus is presented as the living Word.