Luke Chapter 2:1-20

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. Background on Caesar Augustus (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) [Read about Cyrenius in the Encyclopedia here. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. [The Historicity of the Bible explains this historical event.]

The passage is as follows: αὕτη ἡ ἀπογραφὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο ἡγεμονεύοντος τאς Συρίας Κυρηνίου, translated in the Authorized Version thus: “Now this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.” Instead of “taxing” it is now agreed that the rendering should be “enrolment” or “registration” (of which use of the word ἀπογράφεσθαι many examples are adduced by Wetstein), as it is clear from Josephus that no taxing did take place till many years after this period.

Those of us who completed the census this year can relate to this event. The first readers of the Gospel of Luke would have been able to relate to this event. They would have experienced this census themselves.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, 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.

The shepherds were doing what they normally do at this time of the year. So, what were they doing out there in the frigid cold with their sheep? See an explanation here.

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.10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.13 

Here is the part of this story where I just allow my imagination to run wild. Can you imagine seeing this sight while you are out on the hills late at night with your sheep? What do angels look like? Read this biblical description of Cherubim? Does it sound like anything that we have displayed in our homes at this time of the year?

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another,

Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

They didn’t say – right this is NOT possible. They believe what they had received and so their journey began.

16 And they came with haste and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

Ok here it is again, they are sharing the good news. They DID NOT keep it to themselves.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

They went home and praised God for all that they had heard.

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