The gift that keeps on giving
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”
Luke 2:10 (NIV)
Recently I went to stay with my son and his wife. They live far away and I don’t get to see them all that often. They have two young boys and as it was getting near to Christmas, I took their gifts with me. When I arrived the oldest one’s eyes rested on my suitcase with excitement. What gifts had ‘Grandma Jac Jac’ brought this time?
Among all the other typical toys that young children love was a small, plain box and it was the contents of this box that gave us great joy.
The box contained a nativity set. All the main characters were there and while not strictly speaking a toy, they were made from fairly durable materials and could be played with, if you were careful. They sat on the sideboard well out of reach until they were requested, ‘Can I play with Jesus now Grandma?’
What fun we had running around the living room holding angel Gabriel, and shouting, ‘Hurray Jesus is born.’ Mary travelled to Bethlehem in many ‘inventive’ ways and the Wise men were ‘lost and found’ on numerous occasions. I answered endless questions. Can angels fly faster than aeroplanes? Why are there no construction vehicles in Bethlehem? Can I sleep in a manger?
What was so remarkable, apart from the fun we had acting out the story, was that Jesus’ birth has the ability to capture everyone’s heart and bless us with great joy, no matter what age you are. On the one hand, the story is simple enough for a two-year-old to understand, and yet so rich, complex, and full of meaning that adults could study it for a lifetime and never cease to learn new things about our Lord and Saviour’s incarnation and what it means for all people. It is a never-ending source of joy.
Luke records Jesus’s birth in a simple yet profound way in Luke 2:6-12:
‘While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” ’
Even though Jesus’s birth happened over 2,000 years ago, it is still good news today and a source of great joy for all people.
Our loving Father in heaven, thank you for giving us your son and for reminding us each year, in the story of his birth, that he is our Saviour and our greatest source of joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Study by Jackie Mill
About the writer:
Jackie Mill is a minister in Grace Communion International and Co-Regional Pastor for Scotland and Ireland.
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