But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. —Luke 2:10
Luke 2:10-12 is the Bible’s classic Christmas text, sung by angels choiring over Shepherds’ Field in Bethlehem: Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a manger. Never was so great a message delivered in so few words. Notice how the message unrolls as you read the text.
From time to time I’ve had the joy of leading tours to the Holy Land, and one of my favorite spots is Shepherds’ Field outside Bethlehem. Since Bethlehem was encircled by fields on every side, we don’t know the exact location of the events of Luke 2; but the traditional spot is a rock-strewn field that’s rather bowl shaped, with sloping sides all around. The upper rim is dotted with ancient caves, where, according to tradition, the shepherds slept in shifts during the long, cold nights. It’s not hard to imagine caroling angels hovering over this field. Their message was a universal announcement to all history yet so very personal: I proclaim to you… was born for you… you will find a baby…. It was for you… you… you… that He came, and for me. His name, Emmanuel, means “God with us.”
We cannot approach the manger of the Christ child in the same way we approach the cradle of another child. Rather, when we go to His manger, something happens, and we cannot leave it again unless we have been judged or redeemed. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer
100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart.
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