I would have liked to know this guy, Luke. From my earliest Christmas memories as a child Luke 1 to 20 has always held a magic for me.....taking my heart and my mind back 2,000 years, to a place where I never dreamed to ever see.
From the first time I peered into the little hole at the end of a shoebox nativity scene, to every time I stood on a school cafeteria stage, robed in a bed sheet (yes, that is me in that pic below), and listened in childhood wonder at Luke's words, the magic has been there...year after year.
Then, on Christmas Eve of 1990 I stood in the sands of Saudi Arabia and looked up at the skies and gazed at the same stars that guided the shepherds to Bethlehem, and marveled all over again at Luke's grand poetic epic about the birth of Christ.
Words can wound and words can heal. Luke's words are healing, loving, filled with promise that we can re-make the world into a fine thing indeed. Next to the 23rd Psalm, which I hope will be recited when I am carried "home", Luke 1-20 is my favorites.
I hope you are all blessed this Christmas season to hear Luke again....at some elementary school Christmas pageant, or while gazing at an altar in the quietude of a Christmas Eve church service. Luke's words are a warm blanket on a chilly Christmas evening. And they have warmed my heart in the small confines of a small town in California, on a snowy Christmas night in North Dakota, on warm Christmas nights in Hawaii, while overlooking rice paddies in Vietnam, on a lonely post in Korea, or while standing on a sand dune in Arabia as Bedouins tended their flocks as they had done two thousand years ago.
May you and yours be blessed to hear Luke's words once again...no matter where you are.
" And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."