Read & Reflect
1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 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 among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
One commentator writes: “In Luke 1, the angel announced that Mary’s child would be a king of an everlasting kingdom. […] Yet the birth of the Christ child is so simple and is located in as average a village as one can have.” 
- Consider the contrast between the power wielded by Caesar Augustus and the circumstances of Jesus’ birth. What message about true power and about the heart of God does this convey? What do I aspire to?
- To whom did God announce the birth of Jesus? Given what the angels announced as the sign identifying Jesus, why does it make sense that this news would be delivered to lowly shepherds? What does this say about those who are most likely to be receptive to the good news of the gospel?
- Reflect on the fact that shepherds (considered lowly and unclean) would not have been allowed to pay homage even to an ordinary birth, let alone a king’s. What does the accessibility of baby Jesus to even the lowliest people tell us about the nature of the gospel?
- Reflect on the words in the angel’s annunciation describing Jesus.
- Write down all the ways in which the coming of Jesus is good news of great joy for all the people, and for me in particular.
- Gratitude Journal & Prayer of Thanksgiving
- Write down three things that you are thankful for.
 Darrell L. Bock, Luke, The NIV Application Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 86.