Daily Reading: This morning, we’re reading Luke 2. Start there, then read this devotion that will tie in with what you’ve read.
Well folks, it’s Christmas in March! One of the things I love about a bible reading plan is that you get to consider scripture outside of the regular cycle of the ‘church calendar.’ Today we’re looking at a familiar passage from Luke 2 about the birth of our Lord Jesus. Just in case you’re foggy, here’s a recap.
The Virgin Mary is pregnant with God’s son, Jesus. Her God respecting husband Joseph has graciously loved and cared for her in what we can all imagine would be a confusing series of events. Just in case they didn’t have enough excitement in their lives, the King at the time (called Caesar) ordered that everyone go to their birthplace to be registered for a census. Joseph and Mary head home to Bethlehem. When they get there, there are no open rooms at the Inn, so they end up staying in a stable with the animals. Oh, and Mary is now 40 weeks pregnant and in labor. So she has baby Jesus in the stable. They wrap Jesus up and place him in a manger, which is like a feeding trough. So that’s the scene, then this happens:
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
– Luke 2:8–12 ESV
I want to just highlight just two things from this little snippet of the Christmas story.
1) Good News is only good news if it’s good and it’s news. Profound right? In all seriousness. The angels come and proclaim, “I bring you good news!” For something to be considered good news, two things must be true about it. First, it must be true. We live in a world where truth often feels ambiguous and hard to find. In the midst of that chaos, there is an anchor of truth, the one “who is Christ the Lord.” Second, it must be truth that is good. “Jesus will save you if you complete a 5 step process and never sin again,” is not good news. In fact, that would be bad news! The good news is not that you can save yourself, but that the Savior has come.
2) For good news to be “great joy for all people,” it must be for all people. I know, I’m crushing it today with profundity. Yet in my own heart, I don’t always believe the grace of Jesus is really for all people. God evidences this by sending Jesus through the womb of a lowly young virgin named Mary to be born in a stable and laid in a feeding trough. Not only that, he also shares the news of his coming first with shepherds. These were the least in their society. They were poor, they smelled bad, they were not educated, they were not movers and shakers, and they were not well respected. Yet in God’s wisdom, these men were the first the receive the birth announcement of Jesus. These men were the first to hear about the good news that is for all people. God does this throughout redemptive history. He takes the lowest and raises them up.
When the shepherds heard the good news for all people, they immediately went to meet Jesus. After seeing the baby in the manger, they went out telling everyone what they had seen. Do we believe we have good news? Real truth that is truly wonderful? Do we believe it’s for everyone? Then let’s first let that truth sink deeply into our own hearts. Then let’s shine the light to everyone who will listen.