Luke’s gospel continues today with the birth of John, Jesus’ cousin. It was customary in that culture that the oldest son would be named after his father or some other long standing family name. Hence when Elizabeth announces the child is to be called John there is great concern and questions are asked. To that end they go to Zechariah and ask him to confirm the name to be given to the child. As soon as Zechariah confirms it is to be John, just as the Angel of the Lord had instructed him, he is able to speak again. He then goes on to praise and worship God in song, which Luke records word for word.
We then move to Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus Christ. How He is laid in a manger because there is no room at the inn in Bethlehem where Joseph had taken Mary to take part in the census ordered by Caesar. This is such a famous and well know story, indeed one that we as followers of Christ rehearse and remember with great joy every Christmas time. But I wonder how often do we read this passage and miss some of the subtler points Luke is making here.
The fact that Joseph has to go to Bethlehem, because he is from the line of David. The same king David to whom God promises would have a kingdom and throne which endures forever 2 Samuel 7:16.
Luke’s reference to the governor of the day, Quirinius, allows certainty to be achieved as to exactly when in our calendar these things happened. Its as though God is giving us these spiritual markers which touch our worldly journey and which also demonstrate the connection between heaven as earth. Although the two are only connected now by The Holy Spirit, at the point in time Luke is recording they are also connected by the birth of Him who was there at the very beginning of creation as recorded in John 1:1-17. Another thing that stands out is that the heavenly host didn’t announce the birth of Christ to the heads of the Jewish community, or leaders of the synagogues. No, it was to the lowest of society, shepherds, who lived with their flocks and guarded them 24 hours of the day, watching over them, guiding them to the best pasture. Does any of that make you reminiscent of the life of our saviour Jesus Christ?
It is so moving to begin to understand how GREAT our God is. Father, son and Holy Spirit, never making us love Him, or giving us no other choice, but nevertheless loving us and caring for us and about us in a way only He can. Spend some time now pondering this statement.