By Tim Hunt
The Christmas storyUploaded: Dec 24, 2015
When I was in the daily newspaper business and responsible for the editorial pages, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were reserved for opinions and articles pertinent to the season. This morning, I follow that tradition with Luke 2, from The Message translation, telling the story of Baby Jesus’ birth.
2 1-5 About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.
6-7 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.
8-12 There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”
13-14 At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah wrote:
Isaiah 9:6-7The Message (MSG)
2-7 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
light! sunbursts of light!....
For a child has been born—for us!
the gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over
the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He’ll rule from the historic David throne
over that promised kingdom.
He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing
and keep it going
With fair dealing and right living,
beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies
will do all this.
I particularly like the real language of The Message translation. The words are particularly familiar this time of year because of Handel's Halleluiah chorus that uses the Isaiah prophecy. The takeaway for the season for me was a fresh understanding of “for a child has been born—for us. The gift of a son—for us.”
In other words, God coming to earth as a human—fully human; yet, fully God. The human Jesus who walked among our forefathers/mothers and the fully divine Jesus doing miracles and demonstrating his God-given power. God the father giving his only son who would sacrifice his life to forever atone for the sin of each and every believer to restore God’s creation to righteous.