Monday, 5 November 2012

Monday - The Birth Story

It seems odd to be reading  the story of Jesus' birth in November. This is the Christmas story.    Yet as we read through the Gospel of Luke,  reading the Christmas story is a great reminder of why we are Christians.   This story leds us to gratitude.   Each day we must remember to thank God for our lives and our journey.       And frequently our gratitude also becomes a time of asking forgiveness of God.  

Prayer:   O Lord,  support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done.  Then, Lord, in Your mercy grant us safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.   (John Newman taken from PCC The Book of Common Worship)

Read  St Luke  2: 1 – 7

We read here today the story of Jesus’ birth.  It is a wonderful story that we hear each and every Christmas.  How many of us can remember wearing the itchy beard of Joseph or the Shepherds for the Sunday School Christmas Pageant?  Or dawning the bathrobes?  Or stretching those wings made out of hangers onto our shoulders?  
This is the story of our Saviour’s birth.  This is the story we must continue to share with our family and friends and community.  
We read that when Caesar Augustus issued a decree that all must return to their family towns for the big census.    Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea.  
Bethlehem means “house of bread”.   And this is the town where our Saviour was born… the Saviour that gives us life and nourishment for our life’s journey.
Joseph goes to Bethlehem with Mary,  his betrothed.  Joseph was going to his family town of Bethlehem.   And while Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem,  the time came for that baby to be born.  Mary gave birth to her firstborn,  a son.   Mary wrapped the baby in cloths and placed  Jesus in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.   Which was a nice way of saying that Joseph’s  family had turned their backs upon the young couple.    In other words,  Joseph had Uncles and Aunts and cousins living in Bethlehem but Joseph and Mary did not stay with his family.   And why not?  Because they had been perceived to commit the sin of having a child out of marriage.    Yet God,  had other plans than Joseph’s  family turning their backs on their nephew/cousin.   Out of despair comes the joy of God.

Reflect for a moment…. does your Church hold Christmas Eve and Christmas Day worship?   For Christians,  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the beginnings of our faith.  Jesus came to earth as a baby to save our sins.   If your Church does not have a Christmas Eve nor Christmas Day worship,  ask the Session and Minister why not.   Why would a Church not open the doors to celebrate the Birth of our Messiah and share this wondrous love with our community?  Christmas is one of two most important times of worship each year (the other being Easter).

Prayer:   Great God,  we thank You for the glorious impossible of sending Your son to earth as an infant saviour.   We give You thanks and praise that through You,  all things as possible.  Help us this day to remember the story of the birth of Your son.  Help us to prepare for the Worship of this Infant Saviour.    This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.
Many blessings!

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