And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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. 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. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths 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,
and on earth peace, good will toward men!” — Luke 2:8-14
May we celebrate Christ’s birth with the same wonder and joy of that first Christmas.
Title and closing thoughts adapted/borrowed from Faithful Facts for Advent by Paul L. Maier and A World Awaits: Daily Reflections for Advent from the works of C.S. Lewis.
Advent begins today, November 30, 2014. I look forward every year to this four-week season, which leads up to Christmas.
I pulled out my nativity two days ago, (in expectancy of the expectancy, you might say), unwrapping each porcelain piece with care. When I got to the bottom of the box, I let out a yelp. Where was Jesus?
A nativity without Jesus wasn’t much of a nativity, I thought. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas.
I rifled through the packing paper in search of the tiny, white piece trimmed in gold. To my great joy, I found it.
I was struck by this scene, simple though it was: moments of great expectation followed by the delight of discovering the baby in the manger. I then decided to do what many Christians practice, (but had never done myself): wait until Christmas Eve (or Christmas) to place Jesus in the manger.
Come, Thou long-expected Jesus.
Nativity Scene — Duke Chapel (Durham, NC)
He left His Father in the heavens on high.
He was born in a manger with the purpose to die.
Eternally God, and yet fully man,
The baby boy, Jesus, was God’s sovereign plan.
Humbly He was born into King David’s royal line,
And humbly He lived, Messiah divine.
“Mighty Counselor! Prince of Peace!” Cried the Prophet of old.
And He drank of the cup as it had been foretold.
He took sin upon Him, the spotless Lamb without sin.
The grave could not hold Him, victory over death He did win.
He is back in the heavens seated with the Father.
He is preparing a place that will be like no other….
~ Merry Christmas! ~
poem excerpt, LLS 12.10.10
I’m a nostalgic old sap pretty much year-round, but what better time to reminisce than at Christmas?
My two sisters and I, (and my mother, too!), spent a lot of time with our noses in books. Many were borrowed from the public library, but a respectable number bore our names and graced our two built-in bookcases in the basement. Among our personal stash was the 15-volume Childcraft–The How and Why Library. My favorite volumes were Volume 2: Stories and Fables, (it had a beautiful two-page spread of a pink fairy!), and Volume 9: Holidays and Traditions. The latter volume contained colorful pictures of Santas around the world. Santa Claus. Father Christmas. Frere Noel. The volume also contained a picture of the nativity and a brief explanation of “the shining star” that led the Wise Men (the Magi) to Jesus.
Childcraft–The How and Why Library, 1972 Edition