Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Nativity of Our Lord: A Devotional Commentary

Exodus 40:17-21, 34-38 It happened in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was raised up. Moses raised up the tabernacle, and laid its sockets, and set up its boards, and put in its bars, and raised up its pillars. He spread the covering over the tent, and put the roof of the tabernacle above on it, as Yahweh commanded Moses. He took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the poles on the ark, and put the mercy seat above on the ark. He brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the veil of the screen, and screened the ark of the testimony, as Yahweh commanded Moses. Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of Yahweh filled the tabernacle. Moses wasn’t able to enter into the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud stayed on it, and Yahweh’s glory filled the tabernacle. When the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward, throughout all their journeys; but if the cloud wasn’t taken up, then they didn’t travel until the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of Yahweh was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love toward mankind appeared, not by works of righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly, through Jesus Christ our Savior; that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Luke 2:15-20 It happened, when the angels went away from them into the sky, that the shepherds said one to another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem, now, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” They came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby was lying in the feeding trough. When they saw it, they publicized widely the saying which was spoken to them about this child. All who heard it wondered at the things which were spoken to them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, just as it was told them.

The Shepherds responded in faith the words of the angels and went to Bethlehem to see the Christ. Mary was the ark of the covenant but now the Christ child is born. God came to tabernacle among us. Despite His lowly and fragile appearance, by faith the Shepherds preached the Good News of the birth of the Christ child after visiting Him.

Mary represents the church. In order to find the Christ child, the shepherds had to find Mary. Today, the church is where people must come to find Christ. If the church is doing anything instead of handing out Jesus, it is no longer a Christian church. Do not despise the gathering of the church because where the church is there you will find the Christ. Now, just as then, Christ comes in humility. When the Shepherds went to see Jesus He didn't have a halo over His head, He just looked like an ordinary baby. He certainly didn't look like God. It doesn't appear that Christ is is present in the church today but He certainly is. He comes in the preaching of the Word and is given to us in the Sacrament of the Altar for the forgiveness of our sins.

Just as Mary pondered these words in her heart, the Church ponders the Words of Christ and brings them to others. These Words bring life because they are the Words of the Word. They are not just necessary to create some kind of conversion experience, they are our daily food and drink.

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