This week’s reflection comes from
Bishop John S. Macholz
The miracle happens in the dark. A cold stable, inky night, and tired shepherds-all is jolted to a new awakening when God comes among us! We, too, are greeted with angel song as Christ makes his way among us in an old story, in miracles of bread and wine, in the wondrous fellowship of flesh-and-blood people called together to be a body for Christ.
Almighty God, you made this holy night shine with the brightness of the true Light. Grant that here on earth we may walk in the light of Jesus’ presence and in the last day wake to the brightness of his glory; through your only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Luke tells the story of Jesus’ birth with reference to rulers of the world because his birth has significance
for the whole earth, conveying a divine offering of peace.
Luke 2. 1 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph 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. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 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. 8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see–I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah,a the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,b praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
15 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.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
“Do not be afraid.” The words of the angels are spoken not only to shepherds on this most holy of nights but to us as well, some 2000 years later. “Do not be afraid.” The words form an imperative, in effect, a demand that we not worry. “…for see-I am bringing good news of great joy for all the people.” For centuries the people had waited for the Messiah and now, in this town in the middle of nowhere, he is born. God has become incarnate. New life begins.
The message the angelic host brings is for us right now in this out of the way world. The message is one of promise and hope and a new day. Hear the message clearly and take it to heart. Even in…
…the midst of heightened terrorist alerts,
…the reality of mourning the death of a loved one,
…the sense that life is out of control,
…stress which is a constant companion,
…economic times that seem uncertain,
…futures that are unknown.
Christ comes to make his blessings known. To share life with us. To remove burdens. To remind us of God’s love. To enter into our existence. To redeem.
May this year’s celebration find you kneeling in thanksgiving, with wonder and songs of unbridled joy.
Christ is born today! Christ is born to save!
I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the word seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.