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The First Christmas Eve

Luke 2:1-21

When a baby is about to be born, the mother has to go to the hospital or invite a doctor to her house for help. Other family members should be anxiously waiting, and they have ready had everything needed for the baby. There may have a cradle with the new soft pillows and new cloths; if there is no cradle, there must be a warm and soft place for the baby to lay down.

Once upon the time, there was a Baby born. This Baby was not a regular person as us because He was the Son of the great King. This special Baby was not born at a hospital, or at a royal palace as other kings' children. He was born on the way of a far away journey. A journey from Nazareth, a town in Galilee, down to Bethlehem, in Judea. This traveling distance was about 75 miles, that was about 120 kilometers.

You maybe think, 120 kilometers is not that far! That is true; if you travel by car or by train, this distance is short. However, if you walk, it must take 3 to 4 days. The way from Nazareth to Bethlehem was hard to walk. Not only they had to travel over the mountains, but they also had to walk in the unpleasant weather of the desert: at daylight, it was hot as fire; at night, it was chilled to the bone. The Baby's mother was named Mary, and His adopted father was Joseph. Joseph was only an adopted father because the Baby was the Son of God.

At the beginning of this journey, Mary was very tired because it was near to the baby due day; and Joseph didn't plan to go anywhere. However, at that time, the King of Rome commanded everyone had to go back home to register for a population check. Joseph and Mary very hesitated to travel far at this time, but because of the king's command, they had to continue on the road back to Bethlehem, which was Joseph's home town.

At that time, there was no car; therefore, whenever people had to go somewhere, the poor had to walk, and the riches used horses or camels. Joseph was a carpenter, so he was not rich at all. Even so, he had tried to take all his money and a young donkey to take his wife back home. On a rough road, Mary had to sit on the back of the donkey, stayed out in the sun during several days, but she still hold on until coming to the place.

Finally, the couple came to Bethlehem. Mary wished to have a quiet place to rest. Joseph was also very tired, but he took his wife to the village and looked for a hotel. They walked for a while and saw a hotel in front of them. Joseph was very happy, ran fast, and hoped to find a place to rest through the night. But when he stepped inside this hotel, he was disappointed because there was no more place available for them. Joseph walked the donkey to another hotel, and this hotel was also full. The reason was many other people also had to go back to Bethlehem to register and they had come before him; therefore, they had filled up all the rooms of these hotels.

Joseph was too disappointed, so he took his donkey to a small hotel at the end of the village. How sorry for this couple, this small hotel was also full! Joseph talked to the hotel owner: "My wife is having a baby and it is near to the labor day; however, she has been seating on the back of the donkey during several days, and she is very tired now. Please, find a place for us to rest tonight, any place should be fine." The hotel owner looked at this couple with a worry eyes. Finally, he said: "There is really no more room in this hotel, but behind the house there is a place contains the straws for cows to eat, it's also warm and clean. If you don't mind, you both can rest there tonight and we will see about tomorrow." Because there was no more place for them, Joseph had to take his wife to the sheep-house to rest. That night, Mary gave birth to her first son, she took a tower to cover the baby and put him inside the manger.

And so, The Son of God, The Savior of the world, was born in the manger of the sheep-house, the poorest place in the world. Bethlehem was very crowded, and there were many people who were waiting for the Savior, but no one knew that The Savior just came, near by beside them. Only Joseph and Mary knew, because the angel told them before. As usual, when a baby was born, his parents must name him. There are many people who have to find, and think for a long time to choose a name that they want for their children. However, only Joseph and Mary didn't have to think or choose any name, because the angel told them, when this Baby was born, they should name him as Jesus, because He came to save the world from the sins.

That night, on the hill outside Bethlehem, there were several shepherds who still awoke to watch over their flock at night. They were sitting by a fire, warming up and talking together. Suddenly, the sky above them was flashing, an angel appeared with bright nimbus. These shepherds were so scared, so they took their hands to cover their faces and found a place to hide. But the angel said: "Don't be afraid, I came here to tell you a good news, that is also a great news for everyone. That is tonight, in the town of David, the Savior was just born. And this is the sign to acknowledge Him: You will see a Baby born, wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger." These shepherds were surprised, didn't know what to say, there were thousands of angel appeared with the first angel and sang: "Glory to God in the highest! And on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

After singing, the group of the angel disappeared. The darkness came back to the whole place. The shepherds still scared and shaken, so no one said anything. After awhile, when they had come back to normal, one of them said: "Maybe we should go to Bethlehem, to see what the angels told us." Therefore, together they left right away and not waiting until morning. When they came to Bethlehem, they looked for a sheep-house and saw a baby just born, wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger, as what the angel said. The shepherds knew right away that this Baby just born was the Savior who everyone was waiting for. Therefore, they came back home, praised to the Lord and told everyone about what they just heard and saw.

Do you know why God didn't come to the world in the picture of a respectful king but instead He came with a picture of an innocent baby? It's because God loves us so much. God wants to come with everyone, including the poorest people. God also wants to be a weak baby, and grows up as us, so that He can understand us in every situation. Finally, God died for us because of our sins. God loves the world so much; He gave everything for human beings; however, there are many people don't love Him. How about yourself? Do you love God? If you love God, you should accept Him; you should learn from what the shepherds a long time ago had done, that is to praise God and tell everyone who the Savior is.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Where was the Savior born?
  2. Who was the first person(s) the angel told about the good news?
  3. What were the signs to find God?
  4. After finding the Savior, what did the shepherds do?
  5. Have you "met" the Savior yet? If you have "met" Him, what should you do?

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Written by Minh Nguyen
Translated by Ngo Ngoc Di



2002 Vietnamese Christian Broadcast and its Audio Content Provider. Used With Permission.