Read Luke 2:1-7
Now that Joseph and Mary were together as husband and wife only one detail of prophecy remained to be fulfilled. Do you remember our shelter and manger waiting patiently for Mary, Joseph, and Jesus down in Bethlehem? Mary and Joseph are 70 miles away and have no plans for a trip south! The shelter and manger will remain empty and Micah’s prophecy unfulfilled-unless God steps into human history once again.
While they were there the time came for Mary to give birth. And since there was no room in the inn, so she laid her baby in a manger inside that lowly shelter.
So many people come out to church on this night. Often they’re people who have not been here since last Christmas Eve. And sometimes they’re people who will not set foot in church again until next Christmas Eve. Like the crowds of Bethlehem, they turn Jesus away from their hearts and make Him remain outside in the cold. He faced that kind of rejection all through His earthly life-all the way to His death. But He suffered it all to save us. No matter who we are or what we have done, Jesus has won our place in paradise by His perfect life and innocent suffering and death as our Substitute.
Are you home for the holidays this Christmas Eve? As you prepare to gather together with family and friends, come out to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. Don’t leave Jesus in that manger as though He never grew up to save you. Join us as we follow Him through His childhood. Join us as He takes on His life’s work, and goes to the cross to save us all through His suffering, death, and glorious resurrection.
God grant you a joyous Christmas gathering together with your family and friends at home, in church, and in eternity in His heavenly home.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for moving Augustus to issue a decree so that Your Son would be born in the place You chose. Prepare me to celebrate our Savior’s birth this night, that He might be born in my heart again, and that forgiven of all my sins for His sake, I may rejoice in Your presence now and always. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.