Covenant Group Study blog  

Focus Scripture: Luke 2: 1 - 20

The story of Jesus’ birth is so special and, unfortunately, almost … too familiar. I encourage you to read this Scripture slowly. Savor it. Look closely at each of the people involved. Imagine that you are:

  • Joseph. How do you feel? You have come to Bethlehem because you are of the house and lineage of David to register for the census. All of the homes, hotels and inns are filled with your relatives. Do they know? Have they heard that the girl you are about to marry is pregnant? Are you more worried about what the family thinks or about Mary’s comfort and condition? Or … maybe, just maybe – you are focusing on what the angel told you … what will the child born of the Holy Spirit look like?
  • Mary. Here you are, on the road to Bethlehem. Do you have the same resolve as when you told the Angel Gabriel, “I am the LORD’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”? What has it been like carrying the Son of God in your womb? Are you so focused on this miracle that you are able to forgive that there is no room in the inns? Do the presence of the animals comfort you?
  • The Inn keepers. Did you judge the young couple? You simply cannot trust young kids these days, having kids out of wedlock – what are they thinking?
  • The Shepherds. What just happened? Did that angel just tell us “Don’t be afraid.”? I am sorry, but that command’s a little too late. But wait – what did they just say? A Savior who is Christ the LORD? Here I am a shepherd tending my flock outside the City of David, Bethlehem. David was a great shepherd before he was a King. Is there a chance that we, humble shepherds might get to meet The King of Kings? Really? I am not prepared for this – it was not in my plan. But angels … Angels told us about this. We have to go.

There are, of course other people within the story: Simeon, Anna, the Magi. The question we face each Christmas is how do we receive this King, born in a manger? We have talked before, there is the irony – a child born in a manger (a feeding trough) in the city of Bethlehem (translated house of bread) who would identify himself as the Bread of Life.

We will have taken Holy Communion later. How will you encounter infant come to save us from our sins? How will you encounter Him tomorrow or the day after? I encourage you – do not be afraid – pursue Him, focus on Him, listen for Him – He who was born to save us from our sins.

Amen.

Comments

1rmarble@verizon.net | 165 days ago
I like how you help us put ourselves into this story that most non-believers think of as fable or, at best, mythology, which is actually not a dirty word but has a powerful function in the human experience of life. St. Francis of Assisi was one of the first I know of to invite people to put themselves in the story. This was during the ongoing discussion of whether Jesus was more divine than human, vice-versa, really like us or more like a hologram...Francis got sponsors and artisans to put together a huge 3D diorama of not just the scene in the stable, but everything else that might have been going on around that event. How crowded it must have been; I've been to Jerusalem and the tourists and pilgrims thronging in the ancient streets give one a sense of what it might have been like during census or holy day. The nativity that St. Francis had installed went on and on with little sculptures of people going about their business; after awhile you get the sense that this little birth could have been, and was, so easily overlooked. Think of us living in Palmetto, babies get born around us and we are unaware. Every once in awhile, in public, we catch the eye of a newborn and they have this look, as if all the world is already known to them, "they who are so fresh from God..." What would it have been like to look at what appears to a regular baby and have one's breath knocked out of one: epiphany? Wow. Anti-intellectual, anti-logical: the truth of God.

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