Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Wednesday - Luke 2 - Twelve Years of Christmas

HIS is a lovely chapter. These are indeed "good tidings of great joy" (as the angel said to the shepherds). It's the story of Christmas. It's a story with which you are surely most familiar. God became a man. Immanuel - God with us! God sent His Son to live among us; to be one of us; to save us. Joseph and Mary traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to pay their taxes. While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to the Christ. She wrapped him in rags and put him in a feeding trough in a barn. Angels informed some shepherds about this event so that they could come to witness and worship. And there you have it: that first Christmas was over. But there was much more to come.

Eight days after His birth, like every other good Jewish boy, Jesus was circumcised. After that He was brought to Jerusalem to the temple to be presented to the Lord. According to the law of Moses, every firstborn son belonged to God. Jesus belonged to the Father in more ways than one. Being very poor, Jesus' parents offered the simplest of offerings at Christ's dedication. It was then that they met two beautiful old saints who had been looking for the Messiah. Simeon and Anna both prophesied spectacularly in the presence of this holy child. Because they had met the Redeemer, the Savior, they spoke of redemption and of salvation.

We know that eventually Jesus and His parents ended up back in Nazareth. It was there that the wonder of the Christmas story really began to take shape. Jesus "grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him." What an amazing experience it must have been both for Jesus and for His parents. He was heaven's child.  He was perfect. Yet, He grew up as other boys did; learning, changing, exploring – and going up to "Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover." And, they did that for 12 years. By that time, He was strongly aware of His obligations to His Father.

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