Zechariah, an elderly country priest is chosen by lot to preside in the Holy of Holies in the temple. There in the dark, he runs into the angel, Gabriel. He is told that his wife Elizabeth is going to have their first baby. Stunned by the news, he is literally speechless. Did you know Zechariah invited the game Charades trying to act out for his wife she is pregnant?
Mary, a poor, unmarried, uneducated teenager is told by Gabriel; she too, will have a baby boy. Joseph and Mary are not married. They did not have sex as a young couple and they are off to a terrific start. She bursts into song singing her child will be an advocate of the poor, and the forgotten of the world.
Poor Joseph is flabbergasted by the news. He is told by the angel not to leave Mary in disgrace but to care for her which he does. Too, bad we don’t hear much more about Joseph.
Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem to register. There is no room for the child. Joseph improvises finding a condemned dilapidated smelly barn across the railroad tracks next to the city dump. In this hovel, Mary gives birth to Jesus, the Savior of the world....Angels do not announce the birth story to the privileged seated in free luxury boxes at the People’s pole barn stadium. They tell the birth story of Jesus to the graveyard shift (shepherds) like the night watch person at our senior living community.
Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem to register. There is no room for the child. Joseph improvises finding a condemned dilapidated smelly barn across the railroad tracks next to the city dump. In this hovel, Mary gives birth to Jesus, the Savior of the world. Jesus begins his life shutout.
Angels do not announce the birth story to the privileged seated in free luxury boxes at the People’s pole barn stadium. They tell the birth story of Jesus to the graveyard shift (shepherds) like the night watch person at our senior living community.
Bankers from Wall Street yearning for new beginnings, come with suitcases filled with stock options. They meet a pathological homicidal King who begs them to tell him where the child is born. Children are always the most vulnerable in our world too, aren’t they? The financial kings who came to Bethlehem by the interstates now return home tightlipped by gravel roads.
Joseph is warned in a dream by an angel to take Mary and the baby Jesus down to Egypt. Jesus begins his life as a refugee. Only God could come up with this story!
A bright hope filled Christmas to you and your loved ones.
(Excuse me for updating the story) Luke 1:5-66 2:1-20 Matthew 2:1-5
Dan Schmiechen is a retired minister and member of Linden Hills United Church of Christ.
Let the Scriptures Speak
Buy An Understandable Bible Translation: Speak to Pastors Eliot and Lawrence for recommendations.
Church Year:Christmas, the birthday of Jesus into the world.
Daily Scripture Reading: *Choose time of day *Choose a quiet place *Light a candle (symbol of God’s presence) *Begin with a prayer (Open my heart to your Word, O God.” *Close with a prayer (May your presence be with me today.”
In Conversation with Scripture: The Bible is filled with a variety of writings. A few examples – poetry (Psalms); history (Joshua and judges); prophets (Joel, Isaiah, Micah); Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John); the early Christian Church (Paul’s Letters) and end times (Revelation). It is helpful to know what type of writings you are reading. Again, check background information in your Bible.
Spiritual Practice: *When you read scripture, what word/thought comes to your attention)? *What do these words say to you? *What do you hear God saying to you?
Bible Readings For The Week: Christmas, December 25 Sunday John 3:31-36; December 26 Monday Acts 7:59-8:8 ; December 27 Tuesday John 13:20-35; December 28 Wednesday Matthew 18:1-14; Thursday December 29 John 7:37-52; Friday December 30 John 7:53-8:11; December 31 Saturday John 8:12-19