Exploring the Sunday Gospel - Christmas Day
On Christmas Day a core Gospel reading is Luke’s account of how an angel of the Lord brought the good news of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds. Luke locates Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem and identifies that location with David the shepherd boy whom Samuel anointed as king. As the birth narrative unfolds, Luke proceeds to give prominence to the shepherds. The birth of Jesus went neither unnoticed nor uncelebrated, because the shepherds were there to pay homage. In the Christmas tradition the shepherds have come to represent the ordinary people of first century Palestine, the people whose lives the Saviour was born to change.
For those of you who wanted to do some thinking and preparation for today’s service during the preceding week, I invited reflection on the image of the shepherds. In today’s picture from his book, Christmas Time with Teddy Horsley, Teddy Horsley and Betsy Bear join the shepherds who followed the dusty road to Bethlehem to find the infant Jesus wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.
Lord Jesus Christ,
the shepherds rejoiced at your birth.
Accept the praise of our hearts,
as we offer them to you in joy;
this Christmastide and always.
Next Sunday is the Second Sunday of Christmas. The Gospel reading is Matthew’s account of King Herod’s attempt to search for the infant Jesus and to destroy him. Warned by an angel in a dream, Joseph escaped into exile in Egypt with Mary and Jesus. The image to help prepare for this event is refugees. You can find out more about that theme by looking at the Educational Resources and the Preparation Resources.
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