In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinuis was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver the child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and in the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see-I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you; you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and 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 heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Last night I went to my church’s 10:45 candlelight midnight service. The words above were from our gospel. It talks about the birth of Jesus, which is what Christmas is all about. There is something special about the late service, which is why I keep going to this service. The service was beautiful, which was complete with a trumpet, a string quartet, two flutes and and oboe.
The prelude, which was before the procession was just beautiful. The instruments combined were wonderfully combined. This prelude made me cry, which was the 3rd year in a row where I had that reaction during the prelude. This service was complete with songs like ” Once in royal David’s city, “Joy to the World”, “O Come all Ye Faithful”, “Silent Night”, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and to end it all, “Hark the Harold Angels Sing” . The special thing about “Silent Night” is that the church lights go off and the congregational candles are lit. I love that after this service, it is Christmas.