It is Christmas Eve. Over the centuries since Christ’s birth we in the Western world have tended to so romanticize the Nativity that we have lost the scandal of grace. So, in order to attempt a humble return to the original impact of Jesus coming to earth, I offer a contemporary version of Luke’s account of the shepherds and angels….
In those days a law went out from the President that everyone in the country should be registered for the draft. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from his hick small town to another small village called Bethlehem, because that is where his family was originally from. He took his betrothed wife, Mary, with him and she was with child. And while they were there, the time came for Mary to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in an old ratty blanket and laid him in a dresser drawer in the trailer they were staying in, because they could not afford the Motel 6.
And in the same area there were truckers out at the local truck stop, sipping coffee with their semis all around them. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were afraid. And the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid because I am bringing you some really joyful news that is for everyone. For your sake a Savior has been born tonight over in the trailer park, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in an old ratty blanket and lying in a dresser drawer. And suddenly there was with the angel a whole lot of other angels who together started praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
The good news of Jesus coming to this earth is that he came not only for the educated, the wealthy, and the influential; he came for all kinds of people, especially those on the margins of society because the gospel is for everyone.
This night not everyone will be within a church building celebrating with a candlelight service. Some will be working and just trying to make a living. Some will finally be with family after being on the road most of the year. Some will just be happy to have a break. They need Jesus just as much or more than we do. Maybe by the grace of God an angel will show up and tell them where to find Jesus. But if that doesn’t happen, let us be the ones who tell them the good news that Christ the Lord is born just for them.
Gracious God, you have mercifully sent us your beloved Son to save us all so that we might live new and holy lives. Help us so to be sensitive to your coming that the news comes joyfully out of us. Amen.