Be still and rest in the Lord.
Luke 2:1-20 (NRSV)
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Several years ago our grandson requested a rather expensive race car set for Christmas. I watched ads and looked for specials, but finally just broke down and bought the gift. It was wonderful to see his face when he opened it. In his excitement to play, he began to run the cars over the hardwood floors not having the patience to wait until the track was put together. Finally, when all was assembled, the cars were placed on the track and the two players were at the controls. Nothing happened. While the cars were speeding over the hard wood floors, going under sofas and chairs, the wheels had become entangled with dog hair. Try as we would, the cars never worked as they were intended. My guess is that everyone has a similar story: gifts that didn’t fit, that were lost, or like the race car set – broken.
In the beautiful, familiar Christmas story in Luke’s gospel we are reminded of the perfect gift that God gave to all humankind: a gift of love and salvation in the form of a tiny baby. A gift so wonderful and amazing that angels sang and shepherds worshiped. With each gift that you open this season may you see the holy baby wrapped in bands of cloth and may you, like the shepherds, glorify and praise God for the gift that lasts through all eternity.
We are reminded this day of your perfect gift to the world; the gift of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May we in turn give you the gift of our lives, imperfect though they may be. May our lives give you glory as we serve you day by day. In the name of our Savior, we pray. Amen.
Go with God!