Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
From Luke, Chapter 2
As I look around at our abundance this Christmas Eve, I am humbled. The abundance of love and food and money...I am tempted to feel shameful, wasteful, selfish. Then I remember a beautiful article a friend sent me by Rachel Jancovik asserting that all our Christmas Crazy (you know, over-zealous gift-buying, preparing a feast to feed an army for 12 people, baking and baking and baking some more, spending gosh-awful amounts of money at Pottery Barn on mercury glass ornaments...) is, in a way, glorifying to God in itself since....wait for it.....
"Christmas is the ultimate celebration of the material."
You see, as John tells it, it was on Christmas Day that "the Word became flesh"...that's when baby Jesus came right on down to walk among the mortals and show us what love really was. And our children are watching what we make of Christmas, so let's be (as Rachel Jancovik says) as big and glorious and spiritual and physical as we can be!
"For we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son, who came from the Father,
full of grace and truth."