Listen to this devotional:
Luke 2:8-11 – That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord's glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. But the angel said "Don't be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David's hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord." (CEV)
It was the first snowfall of the season, and as I sat thinking about past Christmases, many memories filled my mind. In my youth, I was never much for memorizing Scripture, most likely not wishing to take the time, but for some unknown reason, the Christmas story stands out in my mind. It's what I call the real story, quite different from the world's version of Christmas. I decided to share this story in a little more relaxed mode — with something of my love for it and the love of God Who presented it to us.
Let us think of it as though we were sitting one cold night, long ago, doing our shift with the shepherds, watching the sheep. As we sat in silence, we were jolted by the appearing of the angel of the Lord who came and stood before us. The glory of God shone brightly and filled the area with light. We were terrified by all these sights we had never seen before.
As we trembled in fear, we were calmed by a voice that said, "Fear not, for I have been sent to bring you great news. Tonight, yes tonight, in the small town of David called Bethlehem, a Saviour was born from God — the Messiah!"
Then, we were amazed to see the sky filled with angels singing praises to God. After watching the angels depart from us and ascend back into heaven, we were astounded by all that had happened. Our curiosity overcame us, and filled with awe, we decided to go as fast as we could, down the path that led to Bethlehem. There we found everything as it was told to us: Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, the baby who was lying in a manger. We couldn't contain our excitement, and we told everyone all the miraculous things we had seen!
This story that is told to us in our Bibles is to be remembered, even memorized, so that we may tell it over and over again to all the people of this weary world, and so that the good news of that night will reach any who have not yet come to know Jesus as the one true light of the world. It's the real story, the true meaning of Christmas.
Prayer: Most gracious heavenly Father, as once more we hear the story of Christmas, may we never lose its real meaning. Like the shepherds, may we tell it to everyone, especially our children, so that they in turn may tell their children. This Christmas, may our hearts overflow, loving You and giving thanks for the gift we have received: Your Son, Jesus, the Messiah, in Whose name we pray. Amen.