These posts are the text from our church’s Christmas program, which was last Sunday evening. The program was written by me, and since it’s the only thing I’ve written other than to-do lists and Christmas cards for the last month, I thought I would share it here. If you want to start at the beginning, here is the link to part 1, and here is the link to part 2.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The time came, finally . . . and when it came, it was not the way people expected. Longing for a King to deliver them from physical bondage, they easily overlooked this baby, sent to deliver them from their bondage to sin. Yet into the darkness, God sent His Light, born to an unimportant girl who found herself far from home, giving birth in a stable.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Oh, little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark street shineth the everlasting light–
the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight!
Mary, there at the manger, holding her newborn—the very Light of the World—and Joseph, the man chosen by God to be Christ’s earthly father, were not the only ones who celebrated the light that night. Though most of the world slept, out on the hillside a group of lowly, despised shepherds heard the angels sing and saw just a fraction of the glory of heaven.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, 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.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
Yes, the Light was born that night—the promised hope and the Messiah. But His birth was not the end of the story, nor even the most important part. . . .