In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see-- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth 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 heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!"
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:1-20
Christmas Eve is always a chaotic time in any house. Imagine what it was like in my family. My Dad, a Navy Chaplain serving on a Marine Base with many services to conduct both on land and on the docked ships. My mother went into labor and had me in the midst of all of that Christmas Eve so many years ago. And it is still a great joy to be surrounded by the clamor and the chaos, the sights and sounds of this great season. I am grateful to have a little part of it, a small role in the drama we all participate in, every year.
Two homeless young people, parents for the first time, give birth to their baby in a stable all alone. They know in their hearts that this is an amazing event, one that will change the world. But they also know that the world around them doesn't care about them or their baby - there is too much else going on, too much chaos and clamor for one little child to distract them. To their surprise some shepherds arrived, shaking with excitement and fear, looking for the child that the angels told them about. Everyone must have been overwhelmed and full of wonder. Why had God chosen them to be a part of this great story? The good news is that God chooses all of us to be part of the story. God comes into the world, through us, breaking the distance from heaven to earth and letting love take root in our hearts.
Today, may we rejoice in the drama, the chaos and the clamor. May we remember that God has invited us, in all our humanity, to carry the love of God. We are storytellers all, and participants in this great drama. God invites our humanity, with all of our faults and challenges to be a part of the story of Emmanuel, God with us. May we all rise up and see this thing which the angels foretold - today.