Glory to God – Good News for December 25

25 12 2009

Luke 2:1-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”





No Room At The Inn – Good News for December 24

24 12 2008

Luke 2:1-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth  to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem,  because he was of the house and family of David,  to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them  and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy  that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David  a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you:  you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 

The Daily Path: Last night my children and I were driving through Oakland heading to Alameda, the city where I grew up. We were on our way to pick up my parents and continue our decades old  family tradition of driving around town looking at the colorful lights and Christmas decorations. Freeway traffic was backed up so I took an alternate route through downtown Oakland. 

At a stop light I happened to glance over at the entrance of a city administration building near the police station. At the top of the stairs were two homeless people. One had climbed out of a wheel chair and was already in his sleeping bag. The other was preparing his own bed by wrapping himself in a blanket on this frosty night. 

“She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

As the hustle and bustle of Christmas went on all about them, there was no room at the inn for these two souls. I wondered what set of circumstances led them to their current situation. While I was feeling great joy in anticipation of our family Christmas tradition, these two could look forward to a cold night sleeping on concrete and the slim margin of safety this public manger offered. Thousands would drive by them this night. Would anyone give them a second thought? Where would the joy of Our Lord’s coming be for them?

I’d like to think that if I was a shepherd in the hills surrounding Bethlehem some two thousand years ago, I would have harkened the angels call and gone to the manger to praise the Baby Jesus. But on this night, two of God’s children lay in the cold, yet I continued tending my own flock. 

“And this will be a sign for you:  you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

My friends, on this holiest of nights in the Christian tradition, make room in your heart for all of God’s children. Lord, please keep them safe in your love and mercy.