Dec 23, 2018 – The Angelic Choir
Rev. Scott Strickman
Luke 2:1-21 (ESV)
1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 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, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 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.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 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. 10 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. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 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.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
21 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.
The Christmas story brings at least three things into our lives that we very much need.
- “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered… And Joseph also went up…” (vv1, 4)
- “in the same region there were shepherds…” (v8)
- “let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us” (v15)
- “and the angel said to them… ‘I bring you good news of great joy for all the people’…” (v10)
- “there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God and saying, “Glory to God…” (vv13-14)
- “glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace…” (v14)
- v13 “for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (v11)
- “when they saw it, they made know the saying that had been told” (v17)
Questions for Reflection
- Do you believe God is active in our world and that all things ultimately happen according to His plan? If so, how do you understand the bad things that happen? Is God responsible for them?
- What comfort is there in knowing that God is at work even when we can’t see it or understand it? How do we make choices in life without knowing and understanding all the things that God may or may not be doing?
- Does giving God glory bring you joy? Do you praise God with any regularity? Are you mindful in your choices and how you live of whether or not you are taking opportunities to glorify God?
- In what ways do you seek glory for yourself? What are healthy ways we seek to make our lives better, enjoy recognition, prosper, etc.? What are sinful ways we do these same things?
- Does your experience of peace connect in any way to whether or not you are seeking or having a sense of God’s glory? How (or why not)?
- The angels announce that glory is given to God, and peace is given to humanity. What changes can you make in your life so that you give glory to God and receive peace from Him? How does this work? What are you currently doing wrong?
- How is the birth of a savior good news? In what ways do you need God’s help, and in what ways does He offer it?
Prayer of Confession
Our God and Father, make known to us this Christmas the wisdom of your ways. When we can’t make sense of how things unfold in our lives and in our world, we grumble, we accuse, we let fear and our need to control dominate us. Instead of seeking your glory and enjoying having a part among those who praise you, we covet glory, wanting it for ourselves. We further confess we don’t experience peace and we don’t promote peace in our relationships. Forgive us, and teach us more deeply how the child born in Bethlehem is our savior. We desperately need to see your provision and care as you work in our world; we long for peace; and we sorely lack any true sense of glory. Give us, this Christmas, a renewed sense of these things so that we would join our voices with the angelic choir that sings of your glory and announces your peace. Amen.