Today’s reading is drawn from Luke 2:8-12.
The “Christmas Story” is well known and well loved. Every year, during the month of December, people decorate with nativity scenes, play Christmas carols that tell the story of Jesus’ birth, and attend church services and Christmas programs that are based upon the story of Jesus’ birth which is told in Luke 2. Although the details of the story may be familiar to us, ancient readers would have been surprised by some of the facts of the story. If Jesus was a king, why was he born under such odd circumstances and in such an unexpected setting?
Jesus’ titles of “Savior” and “Lord” would have also drawn comparisons to Caesar Augustus, another king who claimed to be “savior” and “lord.” For example, Augustus lived in a palace while Jesus lived in an insignificant small town. Augustus had human choirs praise him on his birthday while Jesus had angelic choirs announce His birth. Augustus ushered in the Pax Romana (era of peace in the Roman empire) while the angelic choirs claimed that Jesus would bring peace. Augustus enjoyed receiving praise from powerful people while Jesus was often surrounded by the lowly.
The story of Jesus’ life led to inevitable conflict between the power of Augustus, the “lord and savior” of Rome, and the mission of Jesus, the Lord and Savior announced by angels in Luke 2. From a human standpoint, the power of Rome “won” when Roman authorities crucified Jesus. The power of the true Lord and Savior was shown three days later, when Jesus rose again to live forever as the Lord and Savior of the world.
We live in a world that seeks to find “lords” and “saviors” in many places other than Jesus. Do you believe that Jesus is the true Lord and Savior? Do you know other people who are following false “lords” and “saviors”? Jesus is the one true Lord and Savior.
God, thank you that Jesus is the true Lord and Savior of the world. Please help me to believe this and to spread this message to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.