Luke 2:1-20 (NASB)
1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
The Christmas story is so familiar that sometimes we forget how amazing it really is—everything God orchestrated to carry out His plan of salvation for mankind from before the Fall. Jesus being born in Bethlehem wasn’t a coincidence resulting from the whim of an earthly ruler who required everyone to register in his ancestral home. God’s prophets told His people that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem, and God arranged history so Mary and Joseph would be in Bethlehem at the time He deemed for the birth of Jesus. The shepherds in the field, the angels in the sky, the animals in the stable were all there by God’s plan. God has been in control since the beginning of time, and He will be in control until the end of time—which He has already planned. Jesus will return at the end of time. Let us be in place and ready when that day arrives.
Lord, You are so amazing. You give us free will, but You know how we will use that freedom. You know that we need a Savior, and You planned for the Messiah from the very beginning. We look forward to His return. May You find us ready and in our places. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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