And in the same area there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And then an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were very afraid. But the angel said to them, "Listen! Do not fear. For I bring you good news of great joy, which will be to all 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 to you: You will find the Baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a manger."
Suddenly there was with the angel a company of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men."
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."
So they came hurrying and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger. When they had seen Him, they made widely known the word which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
When eight days had passed and the Child was circumcised, He was named JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb (Luke 2:8-21).
Luke 2:8–21 is perhaps the most familiar passage in all Scriptures. Linus reads it every Christmas for the Charlie Brown television special. Almost every church in has a nativity scene stashed somewhere. Many non-Christians even set up a manger scene with the baby Jesus somewhere in their home every December. Almost everyone knows just enough of the Christmas story to project their own meaning into the whole event.
Whether we realize it or not, each one of us lives according to a worldview. It's how you perceive reality, understand God, find purpose in life—all of those big questions of existence. The Christmas story contains profound, life-changing biblical truth. Since it is such a common story, however, people are prone to change the meaning based on their personal worldview, rather than allow the real meaning to change their worldview.
In other words, the true meaning of Christmas could not be more important. The angel's declaration to the shepherds on that night long ago included a number of key statements that clue us in to the significance of what had just happened. Today, to prepare your heart for the holiday season, go back and read this section of Scripture yet again after praying to the Holy Spirit for fresh eyes to see the birth of Jesus.
No matter how many times you have heard it, there is always something to appreciate about the Christmas story. What is the Holy Spirit teaching you this time around?
Mark Driscoll is a Jesus-following, mission-leading, church-serving, people-loving, Bible-preaching pastor and the author of many books, including Spirit-Filled Jesus, which you can order here. He currently pastors The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his family. For all of pastor Mark Driscoll's Bible teaching, please visit markdriscoll.org or download the app. You can download a free devotional e-book from pastor Mark here.
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