Joy in a Feeding Trough

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In those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to his own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Galillee in Nazareth to Judea, to Bethlehem because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born.  And she gave birth to her first-born, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby keeping watch over their flocks by night.  Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.  Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you.  This shall be a sign to you, you will find the babe wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of heavenly hosts appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest!  And on earth, peace to those on whom his favor rests!”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heard.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

(Luke 2:1-20)

There is no Grinch.  There is no Santa Claus.  There are no reindeer, no elves, no talking snowmen.  There is no tree, no wish list, no long lines at the cash registers.  There is no greed.  There is no family feuding.  There is no drunken office party.  This, and only this, is the true meaning of Christmas.  A Savior has been born to us.  We are offered a peace-child, a covenant between us and God.  Forgiveness.  “The Bread of Life” was laid in a feeding trough.  And we feast!  Now go and tell everyone what you have seen and heard!

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