Good News of Great Joy: Luke 2:1-7

Advent Week 3

This passage holds a special place in my heart. Not only (and most importantly) is Luke’s account the most well-known narrative of Jesus’s birth, but also it is the inspiration behind one of my family’s most treasured Christmas traditions.

For as far back as I can remember, and pictures can attest, my sister and I, along with three of my cousins on my mother’s side, read this account on Christmas morning, just before opening our presents. Thankfully, despite the many years and miles between us, we have mostly managed to keep this tradition going, even incorporating our own children into the readings in recent years. It has and will continue to be a special time for our family.

As I grew older and talked of this tradition with friends both old and new, I began to realize that, among other Christian families, reading aloud the account of Jesus’s birth was relatively common. In fact, many of your families may do something very similar, though at a different time of the advent season or even with a different gospel account. As much as I may have believed it as a child, my family was not unique or special as it related to this aspect of our Christmas rituals.

However, what was special — what was unique — was what is found in verse 7. The Christ child, born of the virgin Mary just as the Old Testament had predicted, was born in Bethlehem, and that baby changed everything. It is powerful to read this tender account of Joseph and Mary caring for their firstborn child and of shepherds and wise men traveling “afar” to “see this thing that had happened, which the Lord had made known to them.

The Christ child, born of the virgin Mary just as the Old Testament had predicted, was born in Bethlehem, and that baby changed everything.

These verses, these words, dictated by Luke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit changed the very course of human history. Luke 2:1-7 is far more than just a traditional element of the Christmas season for Christian families in the third millennium; it is the account of God reconciling himself to his broken creation.

As you celebrate with your families this Christmas, will you treasure these words because they are simply a part of your Christmas tradition? Or, will you treasure them because they tell the story of your Savior and have been universally and personally transformative?

Prayer from Jason Fowler

Holy Father,

As we approach this Christmas season, we thank you for the gift of your son, Jesus Christ. At the right time, you sent him to live and to die for us. Although he deserved all glory, he humbled himself and came in the lowliest of conditions.

May he find room in our lives this Christmas — in our traditions; in our personal, family, and public worship; in our busyness and rest. Magnify him in our sights as we finish this year, and may he occupy his proper place in all our lives as we go throughout this next year.

And it’s in his name that we ask this. Amen.


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