True gifts of Christmas
Published 5:45 pm Wednesday, December 24, 2008
On that hillside outside Bethlehem approximately 2,000 years ago, the shepherds could have been thinking about any number of things. They didn’t have to worry about glaring lights or the neighbor’s blaring stereo piercing their thought processes.
They very easily could have been thinking about themselves, mired in worries or rehashing some slight from earlier in the day, pondering how to get even.
Then it happened — that experience which they never, ever would be able to describe adequately — the experience that had to have transformed their lives. The angels’ news and the heavenly chorus transported them outside themselves and led them to a miracle.
The miracle lives for all of us, all year long, not just on Dec. 25. The story told in the Book of Luke is not a story of presents to be coveted or delicacies to be savored at the dining room table. It is the story of how the Son of God — the Word made flesh — was born to save the world from its sins.
For us, today, it is a story about how the most precious gifts are those we give of ourselves, how we can make life better for every person we touch.
All is calm, all is bright, no matter how busy the world around us, if He is at our center, and we are focused on others in His name.
According to St. Luke
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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, good will toward men.