Monday, 25 December 2017

Christmas Day: The Birth of Jesus: Gill Roberts

Luke 2.1-14

 2 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.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”

HOW ORDINARY!

* A census – following the rules - filling in the forms
* A pregnant woman – baby expected anytime
* Shepherds shepherding
* A starlit sky

HOW AMAZING!
* Joseph and Mary turn up in Bethlehem of all places (And thou Bethlehem……)
* The Baby is laid in a manger (just as the angels said!)
* Angel and a heavenly host appear around shepherds
* A single star announces a special birth
  “Star and angels sing
   Yet the earth sleeps in shadow.
   Can this tiny child set the world on fire?”

(Like a candle flame – Graham Kendrick)
Memories are made of this!

The normal – the abnormal

The ordinary – the extraordinary

This is perhaps the best remembered passage of Christmas scripture because we’ve sung it almost word-for-word in “While Shepherds watched their flocks by night…” year after year. But not only that for me.

Picture a shy young girl of 10 attempting to recite the 23rd Psalm publicly for the first time - and failing miserably. Picture the same girl, twelve months later, reciting this very passage, coming first out of a large group of children, and (as a reward!) doing it again in the huge Queens Road Baptist Church in Coventry – and doing it well!! It’s in the memory bank, believe me! As is the huge hug and words, “Well done Gillian!” by the minister. When I was given this passage to blog on – the memory came flooding back. The impact on a shy young girl was enormous – although I didn’t realise it at the time. God rested His favour on me and slowly, gradually changed that fearful heart and gave it peace, using the encouragement of others and His own, “Fear not!”

A few verses later on in this Luke passage and we read that Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

When the memories come flooding back – as they do with age – we are able to take them and ponder them and discover what God has done with events and thank Him for those He used in our lives – even the difficult ones.

So it happens that in amongst the ordinary, regular, even dutiful, happenings of life, come spectacular sights and experiences.

In the mundane sheep-watching, stars and angels SING!

A baby is born – but He fulfils an ancient prophecy.

Words heard from out of the night-sky prove to be a fact – He IS there in a manger.

Glory is given to God Peace fills a mother’s troubled heart.

And so it is that out of uncomfortable circumstances, hurtful experiences and dark times we see His light shine and know His strength for ‘today’.

Can we believe it?

Peace WILL come in our own lives - and throughout the world.

Keep the faith!

Give glory to God!

MAY CHRISTMAS PROVE TO BE A REAL EXPERIENCE FOR US ALL TODAY!

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