When I was in junior high my classmates and I all had to memorize the Christmas story from Luke 2 as part of our school work. In these days where the ACLU is vigilantly trying to protect us from all things Christian, it would be rare for any teacher in a public school to give such an assignment. My, how times have changed!
Luke 2 starts out by giving us the historical setting. The Bible doesn’t read like a fairy tale—“Once upon a time, in a land far, far away…” Luke gives us the place and time in history when Jesus was born.
Joseph was one of the major players in this story. He trusted God and believed the incredible truth that his wife-to-be, who was pregnant without his involvement, was carrying a child that was conceived miraculously; a child who was indeed the son of God. Through his faith and humble obedience, Joseph accepted his role in God’s unfolding story—the story of bringing salvation to all humanity through Jesus.
Of course Mary was there. She had declared herself to be the Lord’s servant, accepting her role in God’s plan. She would have the honor of giving birth to the son of God. After the birth of Jesus, Luke says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19).
The angels were there to announce the birth of Jesus. The arrival of the newborn king was worthy of a heavenly proclamation.
And who were the recipients of this proclamation and the invitation to come to the manger for a firsthand view of the wondrous arrival of the baby who was to be the Savior of all people? It wasn’t the rulers. It wasn’t the rich people. It was the lowly shepherds! The good news of the arrival of Jesus was given to common, ordinary people.
As we read this beautiful Scripture, it is important that we see our own place in God’s story. May we have a trusting faith like Joseph. May we show humble obedience like Mary. May we express a wondrous desire that the shepherds had to seek Jesus and to spread the good news of his arrival to other people.