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Fact or Fiction

Luke 2:1-5

One of the most important questions to ask of any faith or belief-system is, ‘Is it true?’  Luke had no interest in writing fiction or generating attractive fables about a new religion.  He wanted to present an accurate account of the character, life and mission of Jesus, based on first-hand, eyewitness evidence (Luke 1:1-4).  All the events surrounding the birth of Jesus must have been so etched in Mary's memory that she could give a most detailed and personal description.  The Roman census is an important fact.  It anchors the date into history and explains why Jesus was born in Bethlehem


Luke 2:6-7

We do not know how long Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus.  But it was during their stay that God the Son was born in a human body.  Although some traditional nativity accounts merge elements of the Bible account almost into one day, Joseph’s new family may well have stayed in the city for a longer time after Christ’s birth.  When the Magi met Jesus, He was not in a stable but lived in a house (Matthew 2:9-11).  As Herod's angry interrogation of the Magi led him to murder every boy in Bethlehem who was two years old or younger (Matthew 2:13-16), Joseph and Mary cou

Fear in the Face of Glory

Luke 2:8-10

Anything abnormal or unexpected will cause a reaction.  News of a wedding or examination success brings joy and smiles, news of a death or failure prompts tears.  The essence of a joke is that the ending is unexpected, and the twist in thinking should launch laughter.  The more an event or announcement is unexpected - the greater the response.  Fear is a whole-body, physiological reaction to a personal threat for which a resolution cannot be immediately seen; and terror is uncontrolled fear.

Globally Personal

Luke 2:11-12

The Saviour of the world had been born.  His incarnation was so significant that God sent an angel to announce the birth to shepherds (Luke 2:8-10).  Those verses record that the Messiah's arrival was to be good news for every people-group.  But then unsophisticated farm workers were told that Jesus had been born to them personally.  They were instructed to go to meet Him.  The shepherds were certainly not dressed for a royal visit, so perhaps they were reassured that there was no need to change their clothes when they heard that they were looking for a swaddled baby, lying where the animal

Glory and Peace

Luke 2:13-14

After the angel's appearance to the shepherds, announcing the birth of Jesus, many other angels joined in chorus.  Their task was to proclaim the glory of God in sending His Son to bring peace to human beings. The angels were expressing their own joy as well as their duty: never before had the Creator lived in a human body among His creation, with the purpose of saving them from their own sins (Luke 15:7).

Rapid Response

Luke 2:15-18

Decisions are at the core of any business.  Being willing to take responsibility for making critical decisions earns more money, but failure risks reputation and future employment.  Although shepherding was not a highly paid job, they risked losing their livelihood if they failed to guard the sheep at night, leaving them as prey for wild animals.  Yet, they decided to leave their sheep and look for Jesus.  They were not irresponsible; they believed what the angels had told them.  They had an inner God-given conviction that God’s Messiah (Christ) had been born, and that they must go to see H

Fuel for Meditation

Luke 2:19-20

Luke's account of the nativity was so detailed and personal.  After sifting through all the written accounts, he must have interviewed Mary (Luke 1:1-4).  When his 'notebook' was full of verbatim comments, we can imagine him asking, ‘So, after the shepherds had left, and there was just Jesus with you and Joseph, what did you think, how did you feel?’  He simply recorded, "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart".

Not Above the Law

Luke 2:21-24

Occasionally, lawyers or police are brought to court to account for some alleged crime; when found to be guilty, they prove that they are sinful human beings like the rest of us.  They make the headlines, because even law officers are not higher than the law; they are there to serve it.  The same is true for Jesus.  The laws of God applied to Him and had to be fulfilled by Him.  He said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them." (Matthew 5:17)

Moved by the Spirit

Luke 2:25-27a

When Jesus was born, it was a non-event to most Jews.  That is why the shepherds needed angelic instructions, and wise men were given a star, to find the Saviour and be external witnesses of the incarnation.  But not everybody was spiritually asleep.  Simeon was an old man but had been ‘on watch’ for a long time to see the Saviour come.  His heart was zealous to keep the law.  But instead of being hard-hearted like many religious people, Simeon had a soft heart.  He expected God to lead him to see the Messiah, God’s Saviour.  He was in God’s hands and the Holy Spirit was in his heart.  So S

Satisfied by the Saviour

Luke 2:27-32

However prepared we may be, life-changing events are always more potent than their anticipation.  The death of a loved one induces more grief, and a longed-for birth surprises us with greater joy than we had imagined - as water in the desert produces an intensity of satisfaction for the thirsty traveller.  For Simeon, the moment had come.  Over the years, the Holy Spirit had inspired him with a hunger to see God's Messiah.  Now, when a young couple brought their firstborn son to be presented to the Lord (Leviticus 12:1-8), Simeon was there.  The Holy Spirit had moved him to be in the right