URC Daily Devotion 25 December 2023

25 January 2023
St Luke 2:  1 – 20

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 Saviour, 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 favours!’

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.’  So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.  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.


Bethlehem may once have laid still but today it doesn’t.  The angels once sang their message of peace to poor shepherds but today we don’t listen.  Joseph and Mary once found shelter but today millions of Palestinians face an uncertain future.  Wise men once travelled to worship the newborn king but today the wise are not listened to as rage consumes logic.  

Today we rejoice at God becoming flesh, taking humanity by the scruff of its neck, and entering into our life and experience, our pain and persecution, our joy and laughter, our happiness and friendship.  Today we rejoice in the divine transformation of the human.  

As we celebrate today pray for those whose future looks uncertain, whose shelter looks more fragile than a stable, whose precarious exile might be rather longer than the Holy Family’s was.  Today we pray for those who seek peace and justice in the land we call Holy.  Today we pray for wisdom to see that conflict is only ever solved by dialogue, negotiation and justice.


Babe of Bethlehem 
we greet you this day
in your innocence, joy and holiness.

Babe of Bethlehem 
we pray for all those born this day
in Palestine and Israel
that they will inhabit a land of peace and justice,
security and stability,
milk and honey.

Babe of Bethlehem
we pray this day for those who wage terror and war,
that they may face justice
and wiser counsels will prevail.




Today’s writer

The Rev’d Andy Braunston is Minister for Digital Worship and a member of the Peedie Kirk in Orkney. 


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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