Okay, so it's really 19 verses, but what's a girl to do? There are only 12 days of Christmas and this is my most important tradition, I think.
Like many of you, one of the Christmas traditions I had in my home growing up was the re-enactment of the Nativity scene. I was always the angel, except that one year my Grandma was visiting and insisted on being the angel, so I had to be Mary. I loved this tradition. We haven't been wonderful at doing it in our own little family, but tonight we will be making sure it happens.
We always read the following verses from Luke chapter 2, and act it out as we go.
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.
2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of David, which is calld Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7. 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.
8. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9. 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. 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, good will toward men.
15. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into nheave, 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.
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.
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.
I hope that we are all pondering these things in our hearts today. After all, this little story is the entire reason we celebrate this season. It is so easy to lose sight of the "reason for the season" when the commercialism and the wants and the stress take over. This little story is not so little, in fact. It is the most important story we can ever tell our children. God loved us, so he sent his Son. We give gifts to each other, because Jesus Christ gave us the greatest gift of all.