Angels on the Margins

5df906ac5c5f38c7cb9c03a02461ab3cScripture Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
(December 20, 2015 @ 10:30 a.m.)

Scholars believe the writer of Luke was aware of Mark’s concise story of Jesus. About four or five decades after the end of Jesus’ earthly life, Luke retells the story with added description and an emphasis on the poor and oppressed. The moral of the life of Jesus is salvation and hope for those who need it the most in Luke’s tale.

If Jesus is for the marginalized, then even his birth must have happened in such a way that he and his family understand difficulties firsthand. Jesus is born among the animals because Mary and Joseph were denied access to a room on the inside of the house.

Jesus will lead from the outside. Recalling his birth location, Jesus will lead and minister from the margins. Even the angelic host is sings at the birth of the one who will care for the marginalized.

Though a hopeful story for the outsider, Luke connects Jesus to the revered David of generations past. He reminds the hearer of Israel’s glory days. Using the shepherds as the first to whom the angels announce the birth, Luke creates a picture that reminds the people of the shepherd turned King David.

Luke’s is a story of hope for the hopeless.

___

Psalm 148:2

Praise God, all of you
who are his messengers!
Praise God, all of you
who comprise his heavenly forces!

Luke 2:1-20 CEB

Jesus’ birth
2 In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. 2 This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. 3 Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. 4 Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. 5 He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.

Announcement to shepherds
8 Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. 9 The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.

10 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. 11 Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. 12 This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, 14 “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”
15 When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” 16 They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. 18 Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. 20 The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.

Revelation 5:11

Then I looked, and I heard the sound of many angels surrounding the throne, the living creatures, and the elders. They numbered in the millions—thousands upon thousands.

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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