8 Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. 9 The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. 11 Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. 12 This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, 14 “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”
15 When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” 16 They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. 18 Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. 20 The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.
Growing up, I recall my dad often singing hymns and show tunes as he walked about our home. Two of his favorite hymns were Go Tell It On the Mountain and I Love to Tell The Story. Each relives the joy of retelling of the coming of Jesus. Particularly for the Christmas carol, Go Tell it On the Mountain, Dad sang it all year long. Sometimes he sillily changed the words to reflect what he was doing in his personal walk with God but never was he far from the message that God was with him. Never was Dad far from the message of the greatest story ever retold.
The story of Jesus’ birth and life remains the greatest story ever told. It is not just that the story transcends time and has remained over two thousand years or that it has been translated into over 1,551 languages. It is beyond even that the story is true. The Christmas story begins the story of how God “gifted” the world a new covenant in the form of a Savior, Jesus Christ. But I think the story of Jesus is also the greatest story ever told because we chose to keep “regifting” it. Down through the ages, the story of Jesus’ birth is transcendent because Christians continue to love to retell the story. In this case, regifting is perfect! When we share in the magnificence of Jesus’ birth, we are giving away God’s love. So, Merry Christmas, everyone! May the message be the gift that keeps on giving.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
What is the most meaningful memory you have of hearing the retelling of Jesus’ birth? The life story of Jesus remains as the greatest story ever told because we continue to retell it. When we “gift” it away to others, we keep the story alive and continue God’s message of love for the world. How will you regift the wonders of the Christmas story today? How will you share the humble beginnings of a child who was born to become the Savior of the world – for yesterday, today and tomorrow?
Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for sending us your Son, Jesus. Today we celebrate his birth. May we remember the incredible gift that Jesus’ life and ministry has become for the world. As we pause to celebrate Christmas, may we remember to “gift away” your tender love and care, today and each day. May we remain humble as we hold Christmas’ truest meaning in our hearts. Amen.