Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission Lectionary Reflection All Years, Christmas Day I, Gospel

Luke 2:1-14:
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 Quirinius 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 her 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 place 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 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 the people: 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!"

Reflection on Luke 2:1-14: by the Rev John Gibbs

Worship embraces world. The first Hymnbook of God's People sings repeated variations of that theme. "O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. – Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord–" (Ps. 96:11-12).

Luke's Birth Story takes up this tradition, and here too worship embraces world. Jesus' cradle is accompanied by starlit fields, shepherd, flocks of sheep, even a special heavenly visitation by an angel. A child "wrapped in bands of cloth" is also wrapped in the sounds of cosmic acclamation when "a multitude of the heavenly host" sings: "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors" (Luke 2:13-14).


The Rev. John Gibbs, a retired theologian, attends Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN. He originally wrote this reflection in 1998. He and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John Gibbs or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC) Holy Trinity Church Box 65 Elk River, MN 55330-0065 USA

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