Luke 2:1-40. Luke wrote the script that is most known for the Christmas children’s presentation of the incarnation, the birth or arrival of Jesus. We know most of the characters. Mary must wear blue. A cloth wraps the baby Jesus. Joseph has flowing robes. Don’t forget the donkey and cows! And then there is an old man, Simeon, who appears eight days later and Anna, an eighty year old prophetess widow who both testify at the temple to the prophecy of the coming of Jesus. Bethlehem was not a metropolis. Oh yes, no hospital or birth certificate. Ordinary and inconspicuous might be adjectives to describe this not untypical home birth scene — except for prophecy fulfilled and angels praising. In fact, the quoted angelic message in Luke is a bit oblique. The angels are praising God for bringing peace to earth. It is the nameless shepherds who help fill in the cracks by saying, “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about.”
Handel’s Messiah puts in song the prophecy that angels reference and which was given centuries before by Isaiah, Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a child is given, and the government will be on his shoulders, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Prophecy and praise meet in ordinary shepherds, in an old man, an old woman and countless generations since that remember the Christmas story. Jesus was not just another wise sage born that evening but “Mighty God,” incarnate, but as John reminded us yesterday, it is our choice to receive him.
What might receiving look like to you? Do you think of Christmas morning or FedEx delivering a package, an email popping up on your computer screen, a graduation ceremony and walking across the stage or perhaps when a small baby was placed in your arms. Receiving is personal, is special, and often is somehow unique to your needs. What might you need to receive from God today? Feel free to place your order through prayer. Perhaps it will take time like the prophecy to be fulfilled but God keeps his promises – not for health, wealth, and prosperity but for presence, for care, and for an answer that is best for you. Blessings,