Listen again for the first time
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 among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:8–21
Luke 2:8–21 is perhaps the most familiar passage in all Scriptures. Linus reads it every Christmas for the Charlie Brown television special. Almost every church has a nativity scene stashed somewhere. Many non-Christians even set up a manger scene with the baby Jesus in their home every December. Almost everyone knows just enough of the Christmas story to project their own meaning into the whole event.
Whether we realize it or not, each one of us lives according to a worldview. It’s how you perceive reality, understand God, find purpose in life—all of those big questions of existence. The Christmas story contains profound, life-changing biblical truth. Since it is such a common story, however, people are prone to change the meaning based on their personal worldview, rather than allow the real meaning to change their worldview.
In other words, the true meaning of Christmas could not be more important. The angel’s declaration to the shepherds on that night long ago included a number of key statements that clue us in to the significance of what had just happened. Today, to prepare your heart for the holiday season, go back and read this section of Scripture yet again after praying to the Holy Spirit for fresh eyes to see the birth of Jesus.
No matter how many times you have heard it, there is always something to appreciate about the Christmas story. What is the Holy Spirit teaching you this time around?