December 25, 2020

December 25, 2020

December 25, 2020
Luke 2:1-20
Bishop Dindy Taylor
Resident Bishop Holston Annual Conference

Luke 2:1-20
Who Doesn’t Love A Good Story?

Throughout the year, I enjoy watching Hallmark movies.  You can always count on the two main characters ending up together.  In fact, it seems with about 15-20 minutes left there is always some cliff hanger or conflict discovered that will mess things up for the main characters. The show cuts to a commercial and returns with just enough time to resolve all misunderstandings. And everything turns out for the good.  At this time of year, Hallmark describes it as a Christmas Miracle.

As much as I enjoy watching Hallmark movies, there is a story that really was a Christmas Miracle. Read again with me Luke 2:1-20.

     In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.  He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

     In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth 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 heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

     When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it has been told them.

One of my favorite things about visiting Bethlehem is the Shepherd’s Fields. The fields are not far from the Church of the Nativity and to be there looking out over Bethlehem it is inspiring to say the least. We know from Luke’s account of the Nativity story that the shepherds are the first to get the news about Jesus’ birth. The angel of the Lord appears to them and they are petrified. They are on sensory overload as the glory of the Lord shone around them. The angel assures them, “Do not be afraid” and then there is an important point in the angel’s announcement that I had never noticed until now. “To YOU is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” That’s right, Jesus the Savior was born to these Shepherds. Think about it, the Good News of Great Joy is for all people, and even these Shepherds who are often characterized as LOWLY.

During these days of celebration we must recognize that Jesus came for all of us. For every one of us: young and old, rich and poor, those living in a refugee camp and those living in a castle. We often put people in categories that keep us from knowing them and including them. But on that Holy Night it was clear that God started with those who were considered at the bottom, a carpenter and his betrothed from Nazareth, and a band of shepherds watching over their flocks that night.

One of the joys of Christmas is the music. A favorite of mine is Noel by Chris Tomlin. It brings into focus what happened on that NIGHT in Bethlehem. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ I invite you to reflect on these words:

     “Love incarnate, love divine, star and angel gave the sign, bow to babe on bended knee, the Savior of humanity, unto us a child is born, He shall reign forever more. Noel, Noel, come and see what God has done. Noel, Noel the story of amazing love! The light of the world, given to us, Noel.

     Son of God and Son of man, there before the world began. Born to suffer, born to save, born to raise us from the grave. Christ the everlasting Lord, He shall reign forevermore.
Noel, Noel come and see what God has done. Noel, Noel the story of amazing love! The light of the world given for us, Noel.

The great Good News of Jesus is that LOVE was born that night, and God invites us to share that LOVE in all the world. May that LOVE be born in us today.


Loving God, we adore you as the infant Christ.  Teach us how to tend to you in your self-imposed vulnerability with us.  Prepare us in these tender moments to see what incarnation means in our world. Amen