Jesus the Good Shepherd Church
Bulletin Letter for December 21, 2014
Dear Friends in Christ,
At the beginning of Luke’s Gospel, chapter two, it was clear that Mary would soon give birth to her son, the Son of God made man. She and Joseph were traveling, in obedience to the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, who decreed that there would be a census throughout the world.
The couple arrived at Bethlehem and immediately sought out a place to stay and something to eat; Mary would need rest after the long journey. But there was nowhere to stay.
Bethlehem was the city of the tribe of King David and there were many who traced their family of origin to this land of Judah. There was no place at the inn or any other location.
Mary no doubt was close enough to Joseph to hear him as he tried explaining why it was that they needed a room and likewise to hear the innkeeper’s response. They did not let Christ in. The doors were shut to him.
Joseph, perhaps and understandably growing anxious, finally settled on a cave that served as a stable for animals. It would not be comfortable but it would provide a shelter and protection against the wind.
Joseph and Mary had brought with them only a few belongings. The baby would be placed in swaddling clothes. Also brought was any other small item that Mary would have wanted to bring to prepare for the joy of any mother’s first child.
So the greatest event of humanity’s history took place in the poverty and simplicity of a stable manger.
Jesus was born poor. His birth shows us that material goods are not essential, even for the Messiah. He did not come to this earth to stay in a palace. Many live in poverty each day.
He wanted to share the experience of the poor, not even allowing his first days to be ones of comfort.
Our focus on Christmas should be spiritual. Yes, we gather for parties, exchange gifts, and watch the faces of the excited children. But the most important meaning is that we have been given a gift by God through which we would be saved.
Fr. David T. Richter