Text study on Luke 2:1-20
Lectionary texts for Christmas, Dec. 25, 2011
I had just finished putting up the lighted nativity display at our home in the early evening darkness when the children next door, 4-year-old Katie Sue and her older sister Maggie, came running over to see the lights.
We talked about the display and the story of Mary and Joseph, the Wise Men and angels. It was Katie Sue who asked, “How old is that Baby God?”
I smiled at those precious words and thought of Luther’s comments in his lectures on Galatians: “True Christian religion does not begin at the top as other religions do; it begins at the bottom. you must run directly to the manger and the mother’s womb, embrace this infant and the virgin’s child in your arms and look at him — born, being nursed, growing up, going about in human society, teaching, dying, rising again, ascending above all the heavens and having authority over all things.”
True meaning of Christmas
Christmas means many things to people — family, traditions, carols, gifts and sharing. But pare away the cultural wrappings and Christmas for Christians is the good news of God’s coming in human form.
This Child in the manger, born to a young Mary, is God-in-the-flesh, God-with-us, Jesus Emmanuel.
Wonder and mystery fill this story, most certainly in the proclamation that this tiny, vulnerable newborn is God. But what makes the wonder of God’s coming among us good news?
The Child comes to save, not condemn. This is the good news!
The angelic host proclaimed it this way: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” To a rebellious creation, God comes making peace. Or, as the angels sing in the Christmas carol: “Peace on earth and mercy mild: God and sinners reconciled.”
People come to church for many reasons at Christmas time. Whether they know it or not, they come searching and seeking, “to see this thing that has taken place.”
I am regularly amazed at who stops to look at nativity scenes and who visits places of worship on Christmas Eve.
Like the shepherds from the fields or Wise Men from a distant land, they often come from the edges of life looking for something that will address their ill-defined hopes and fears. And the good news begins to unfold here in the manger — in the vulnerability of God, an infant Jesus, born to live, born to die, born to save a sinful world.
- How does your congregation welcome those who come from the edges of the community to see and hear the good news of the Christ child?
- What do you seek in the presence of the Savior? How do you encounter the good news?