Here's how it happened.
I also like to call this the Old Familiar Story. Luke Two.
Though Christmas is several days in the offing, tis wonderful to consider the details and keep how it occurred so long ago.
I never tire of hearing it ... I never tire of remembering how it happened ...
And having been on a hillside just outside little Bethlehem myself, I can picture the topography,
imagine the night-sky above the shepherds, and even the rough-hewn manger.
Luke records the happenings:
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into 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 wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, 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, good will toward men! Luke 2.1-14
This poem by Christina Rossetti means so much to me:
In the bleak mid-winter Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak mid-winter Long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold him, Nor earth sustain; Heaven and earth shall flee away When he comes to reign.
In the bleak mid-winter A stable-place sufficed The Lord God Almighty Jesus Christ.
Enough for him whom cherubim Worship night and day, A breastful of milk And a mangerful of hay
Enough for him whom angels Fall down before; The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels May have gathered there, Cherubim and seraphim Thronged the air.
But only his mother in her maiden bliss Worshipped the Beloved with a kiss.
What can I give him, Poor as I am? If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man I would do my part-- Yet what I can I give him, Give my heart.
The song by Dan Fogelberg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKlHh7MGnfw
Grace and Peace to you,