Christmas: Why It Still Matters – The Miracle of Christmas
Today’s study passage is undoubtedly the Bible’s most familiar Christmas story. It’s the passage that has inspired many Christmas pageants, and it’s the passage that gives the best glimpse of Jesus’ birth in that straw-filled manger, and it’s the story that reveals heaven’s angels announcing the birth of the Savior.
But don’t let familiarity push you away from taking a fresh look at Luke’s incredible narrative.
Approach it prayerfully—and with the humility of a Christmas shepherd—and you might just be surprised by what you’ll find.
Key Study Passage: Luke 2:1-20
- How did God use a Roman emperor (vv. 1-2) to bring about his plans? (See Micah 5:2.) What does this tell us about God’s power over even the most powerful rulers?
- Why is it significant that Joseph was a “descendent of David” (v. 4)? (See Isa. 11:1.)
- What do the circumstances of Jesus’ birth (vv. 7, 12) communicate about this newborn king? (See Phil. 2:6-8; Mark 2:13-17.)
- In verses 9-12, what was the good news that the angel delivered to the shepherds? (See also Isa. 52:7; 61:1.)
- What applicable truths can you take from the shepherd’s experience (vv. 8-18, 20)?
Spend Time in Prayer: Re-read Luke 2:1-20, reflecting on parts that stand out to you; thank God for Christmas and for sending his Son to earth; pray that the excitement of the shepherds will fill your heart all year long.
The Birth of Jesus
1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
The Shepherds and Angels
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Prayer for the Week: Father, don’t let me get so caught up in the frenzy of the holidays that I forget what it’s all about; amid it all, may I take time for peaceful reflection and joyful celebration of my Savior’s birth.