Advent Conspiracy, Day 18
Suppose someone said, “Tell me about Christmas, I want to see if there’s really hope there.” Would you limit your response to who was at the manger, what gifts the wise men brought, and what the shepherds saw? You might include those items, but they would be details in a much larger story. They’re symbolic for the promises and plans of God that were carried out. And yet, we often describe the manger scene to the surface level details.
The Christmas narrative is the perfect time to teach the full Gospel. To properly explain why Jesus was born requires beginning in Genesis 1 with Creation, followed by the fall of humanity in Genesis 3, the establishment of God’s people, the promises of a Savior, and the prophecies throughout the Old Testament. His birth is not an arbitrary event but a fulfilled promise by God to send a Savior “as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:6-7). It continues on after his life, death, and resurrection to his promise to one day return.
Enjoy reading and acting out the Nativity Scene with friends or family, or just reading it yourself. Remember this is not the script to a small-town play with flat characters; this is God’s incredible rescue mission that changed the world.
Today’s Scripture Reading
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
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.