“The First Visitors”

December 25, 2014

Read Luke 2:8-20.
The shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” Luke 2:15B

Do you enjoy a large gathering on Christmas Day? Or are you isolated this year by work, finances, weather, or for some other reason? You are not alone. It is certainly possible that Mary and Joseph came into the first Christmas feeling the same way, huddled together and all alone with their newborn baby.

God didn’t leave them alone for long. When He sent an angel with the first Christmas invitation He didn’t choose a mighty emperor or king, prominent priests or Levites, or even wealthy, powerful people. Instead He sent His angel to poor shepherds watching over their flock at night. The angel told them the exceedingly good news that God had kept His promise-a Savior had been born! Because Jesus would take their sins and pay the full price we all owe God, they could leave their flocks and hurry into the presence of their God and King.

Suddenly the sky was filled with a multitude of angels praising God. The overjoyed shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they hurried and found Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. And so began the first Christmas gathering.

Can you imagine the joy Mary and Joseph felt when this unexpected company arrived? We continue this wonderful tradition by hurrying from our homes to “go over to Bethlehem” and gathering together with our Christian brothers and sisters in church to “see this thing that has happened.”

On this day as you gather with family, friends, and your Christian brothers and sisters at church, don’t forget your eternal home where Jesus no longer lays in a manger, but sits on His royal throne at the Father’s right hand. Mary and Joseph no longer wear their poor clothing but shine in the glorious righteousness of Jesus with which they are robed in paradise. The shepherds are before the throne of God, worshiping the Son of God who saved them from their sins.

And if there is an empty spot at your Christmas gathering because a loved one has left this world in faith, then take heart. Like the shepherds, they have gone to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord had told them about. One day you and I will gather with them because God’s Son became human, took our sins upon Himself, and died in our place on the cross. Through His glorious resurrection He has guaranteed we will rise again and live with Him forever in paradise.

THE PRAYER: Almighty God, thank You for this wonderful day in which our Savior was born. As we gather at church and in our homes, fill us with joy. And like the shepherds may we return, glorifying and praising You as we share with our family, friends, and neighbors all that we have heard and seen, just as You told us. Then, in Your perfect timing, bring us to Your eternal gathering in our heavenly home. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Reverend Wayne Palmer

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